By most measures, Susan Brooks has been a strong congresswoman.
She's represented Indiana's 5th District, which includes the Madison County area, with class, integrity and sound judgment. During her four terms in Congress, she's been active in drafting and marshaling passage of bills, particularly in the areas of health care and public safety.
And she's been a leader in reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats.
Brooks' one blind spot seems to have been President Donald Trump. She's failed several times to come out strongly against the president when he's uttered or tweeted outlandish or hurtful or divisive (or all three) messages.
But the congresswoman's reaction this week to President Trump's comment that four Democratic congresswomen of color should go back to the countries "from which they came" indicates that Brooks has seen the light.
Brooks was one of just four among 197 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote in favor of a resolution condemning President Trump's remark. The resolution, which passed easily with the support of majority House Democrats, stated that immigrants who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as people whose families have been in the country for generations.
Afterward, Brooks tweeted:
“The President’s remarks to my colleagues across the aisle are inappropriate and do not reflect American values. ALL of our elected officials need to raise their level of civility in order to address the serious issues facing our country.”
She went even farther in directing her criticism squarely at the president.
“Today, I voted to condemn the racially offensive remarks the leader of our country made," she tweeted.
Brooks' sudden courage to denounce the president so directly is almost certainly tied to the recent change in her political standing. She announced last month that she would not run for reelection in 2020, meaning that she no longer has to worry as much about political fallout for criticizing the president.
Surely, it has pained Brooks, a paragon of civility, to side with a patently uncivil president.
It's good to see that the congresswoman finally came out squarely against Trump -- in her words and in the vote she cast.