Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stood up Friday afternoon on the Senate floor, and before her colleagues and the American people talked about the law, the Constitution, and the presumption of innocence to explain her “yes” vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (she’s pictured above right).

How refreshing, how critical — how needed in today’s fractured political climate.

After weeks of hysterical, 11th-hour claims about nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s behavior as a teenager in high school, Sen. Collins brought it all back to the law. The nation’s angry rhetoric gave way to reason, thoughtfulness, and an examination of the greatest and most enduring document in the nation: the Constitution.

Generations of schoolchildren have pondered it, jurists have clung to its words during difficult cases, and a nation was born through its ideals.

This is who we are, in essence, as a nation. If we don’t believe our Constitution transmits our guiding principles as citizens of the greatest nation on earth but give way instead to a “new normal” of propaganda, threats, accusations and lies, we are doomed as a civilized society.

Collins said the #MeToo movement is important; she emphasized that.

She also suggested that one can support Kavanaugh and victims of sexual assault at the same time, with the same conscience. That truth has been missing in our national conversation. Too many people have been forced to choose sides — which kills contemplation and a search for the truth.

Before Collins was even done with a speech that will long be cited for its clarity, precision and reasoned analysis, she was receiving ugly comments on Twitter.

But those who condemn a person’s decisions based on the Constitution and the law — and her own conscience — need to search their own consciences.

It is enticing to join the movement of others who believe passionately — especially if one has been wounded or physically hurt. There is comfort and security in joining one’s voice with others, and many stayed with the resistance against Kavanaugh when some of those voices became increasingly angry and even threatened violence.

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Collins could have done this — joined women who begged her for a “no” vote against Kavanaugh, offering their sincere if fleeting adoration for it — and been welcomed to the modern feminist movement with open arms.

She could have been moved by tearful and angry remonstrations from women who are begging for Kavanaugh not to be confirmed.

Related: Celebrities Are Promoting a D.C. Protest Against Brett Kavanaugh

Some of them, sadly, do know true violence all too well.

Instead, Sen. Collins stood alone on the Senate floor and explained her decision — carefully, compassionately, and clearly.

These are complicated times full of gray areas, and often devoid of human empathy. Women have been hurt by powerful men; men have been hurt by women. All of it needs to stop. But we can’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater” and abandon our belief in that essential core value of “innocent before proven guilty.”

That truth is essential when lives, careers, and futures hang in the balance, and it is as true in tiny courtrooms in small towns across the country as it is in the nation’s capital when deciding whether to confirm a Supreme Court nominee.

Sen. Collins has had an important moment, and she may pay for it; activists have pledged over $1 million to support a challenger in the future should she not “toe the line.”

But after her speech today, many in Maine are thanking their lucky stars to be represented by such a lawmaker.

See Sen. Collins in the video below.