Declaration of Conscience, Kavanaugh confirmation vote, McCarthyism, search and destroy mission, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Senator Susan Collins, U S Senate
Republican Senator Susan Collins is under attack due to her “yes” vote that put Judge Brett Kavanaugh over the final lap toward becoming the next Supreme Court Justice. on Saturday Collins’ speech which spoke to the rule of law, advise and consent touched on many issues leading up to the moment was not only compelling but historic.
If she is not remembered for anything else, Collins will be remembered for her performance on the floor of the U. S. Senate prior to the final vote confirming now Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Unified Patriots by Civil Truth
Sixty-eight years ago, on June 1, 1950, in a nation tearing itself apart over the Joseph McCarthy accusations regarding Communist infiltration of our government, the Senate’s first female senator, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, rose to deliver an historic speech on the Senate floor, a speech that has become know as A Declaration of Conscience.
In this speech, as reviewed on the official U.S. Senate web site, Mrs. Smith was one of the first senators to challenge the process by which Joe McCarthy was damaging the fabric of the Senate, and consequently our nation.
Four months earlier, McCarthy had rocketed to national attention. In a well-publicized speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, he claimed to possess the names of 205 card-carrying communists in the State Department. Smith, like many of her colleagues, shared McCarthy’s concerns about communist subversion, but she grew skeptical when he repeatedly ignored her requests for evidence to back-up his accusations. “It was then,” she recalled, “that I began to wonder about the validity… and fairness of Joseph McCarthy’s charges.”
At first, Smith hesitated to speak. “I was a freshman Senator,” she explained, “and in those days, freshman Senators were to be seen and not heard.” She hoped a senior member would take the lead. “This great psychological fear…spread to the Senate,” she noted, “where a considerable amount of mental paralysis and muteness set in for fear of offending McCarthy.” As the weeks passed, Smith grew increasingly angry with McCarthy’s attacks and his defamation of individuals she considered above suspicion. Bowing to Senate rules on comity, Smith chose not to attack McCarthy, but to denounce the tactics that were becoming known as “McCarthyism.”
“Mr. President,” she began, “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition…. The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body…. But recently that deliberative character has…been debased to…a forum of hate and character assassination”[…]