Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, listens Thursday during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Tom Brenner / AP

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Peter Clapp of Blue Hill is a former garage owner.

The election has been behind us for only a few months and most of that time people are already trying to push U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ buttons by telling her that she “must” do this or that, and if she doesn’t she’s not doing what her constituents want.

Does anyone remember the election? More than 51 percent of Mainers voted for Collins (more in the 2nd Congressional District) despite more than $100 million spent against her. She is doing what most of her constituents expect her to do — working for all of Maine.

I hoped she wouldn’t vote for convicting former President Donald Trump on the impeachment charge, but I wasn’t going to tell her she “must” do as I wanted. In my opinion, if Trump had been convicted by the Senate, it would have excited more riots and done more harm to President Joe Biden’s wish for unity.

Collins saw and heard all the evidence as did everyone. She made her choice and I accept her decision.

I voted for her because I trust her to vote on issues as her character and conscience dictate not as public consensus dictates.

In my opinion, those who are trying to influence her are only preaching to the choir; trying to reinforce the thoughts in minds that think like theirs. These people have little chance of changing my mind or those of loyal Collins supporters. They should know by now, after 24 years of watching her work, she’s going to vote on issues when she knows the facts.

These people have every right to express their views, but in my opinion, their energy could be used more productively. At the risk of raising the hairs on the back of a lot of necks, I just can’t resist saying it’s time to say bye bye to the “Bye Bye Susan” sentiment.

Until a few days ago I was ready to call out those in the Maine Republican Party for even thinking about a censure of Collins. To quote David Farmer, no friend of Collins, from his column in the Feb. 18 Bangor Daily News, “But in Maine? Against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins? A censure vote? Are you kidding me?” I agree with almost none of his points of view, and it’s likely he and a gaggle of others were smiling at the prospect of a split in the Maine GOP. I did agree with asking the GOP those questions though. Later in the column he said, “Maybe the Maine Republican Party is lost to reason and can’t be saved.“

Again, he may be right if people in the Maine GOP higher ranks do not realize that Susan Collins, hopefully along with former state senators Roger Katz and Kevin Raye, pro-Trumpers, anti-Trumpers and anyone else who has a mind of their own, should be welcomed and needed in the Maine Republican Party. I commend them for that decision if in fact they are dedicated enough to do that. The real Republican base would expect no less. May reason prevail.

Republicans are fervent in their beliefs, but can’t be one-issue voters and survive. Everyone is needed.

It might be a long time, if ever, before this party is the majority in Maine again like the good ol’ days, but we can be a viable, active opposition. We can have a significant influence on the way the problems of this state and country are solved if we work together and value everyone’s differences.