I Actually Agree with Mike Pence about Something

And no, as you might imagine, the subject of that agreement is most definitely not same-sex marriage.

I’m referring to a recent story in The Indianapolis Star reporting that Governor Pence will confer the Sachem Award on P.E. MacAllister.

According to the report, “The award is given once annually to a Hoosier who demonstrates wisdom, judgment and grace, and whose character shows the importance of providing a moral example. The name comes from the Algonquin term given to leaders who exhibit those qualities.”

I have known–and treasured the friendship of–P.E. MacAllister for well over 35 years, and I can think of few Indianapolis citizens more deserving of an award recognizing wisdom, judgment and grace. Governor Pence quite properly praised P.E.’s impact on the life of the city–an impact far more extensive than many people recognize. P.E. has been a patron of the arts, a valued counselor to elected officials (including, despite his strong Republican bona fides, Democratic elected officials) and a longtime and effective advocate for good government and the value of public service.

Once, when I complimented him on his support of some civic enterprise, he responded with a biblical phrase–something along the lines of “From those to whom much has been given, much is expected.” That phrase, and much of his quiet, extensive and modest philanthropy, reflects a deep and nuanced scholarship that extends well beyond the bible. He is one of the most intellectually curious people I know, with interests in everything from history to anthropology to constitutionalism and civil liberties. The phrase “a gentleman and a scholar” is apt.

Indianapolis and Indiana have been very fortunate to have a citizen like P.E. MacAllister. I would be remiss if I failed to congratulate Mike Pence for recognizing that fact. (Of course, as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often….)


  1. I’m with you, Sheila. P.E. as been an intellectual and civic force in Indianapolis for many decades. He is richly deserving of this award!

  2. I must echo your sentiments. P.E. is a rare person who has set a very high standard for civility and keeps exceeding it.

  3. Well, I’ve never heard of this guy but I am wondering if maybe next year, you might get this award for your service to us, your country and teaching. I’ve learned so much from you and I don’t even live in Indiana anymore! 🙂

  4. We’re talking about the same guy who sent out a letter to Republicans urging them to allow a confab of about 20 people like himself decide who the next Republican congressman in the 5th District should be to replace Dan Burton a few years ago instead of the Republican primary voters? His self-appointed committee would have ensured that the seat would have gone to his young pal, Luke Messer. He didn’t get his way and Messer lost. His Republican friends at the State House redrew another district in which Messer could run and win instead. A female candidate, Susan Brooks, wound up winning the 5th District to replace Burton. Study the financial disclosure statement Messer filed with the House Clerk and learn about the newfound wealth he acquired shortly before entering Congress. It’s quite eye-opening. MacAllister is a wonderful person if you like the members of the downtown mafia of which he is a part who operate government for their own self-serving purposes at the expense of us common folks while pretending to be virtuous civic leaders.

  5. I don’t know any of the people involved in this story so, if I was smarter, I’d probably refrain from comment.


    Freedom is the product of democracy, the ability of us all to hire and fire those who govern. It works because politicians want to get and keep their jobs, so they do what gets them elected, keeping us satisfied.

    Not at all complicated.

    As soon as governance comes from those other than our expressed choices, mischief follows. Agendas are empowered other than those of the majority. Freedom is wounded.

    Our future would be less at risk if SCOTUS thought this simply as well as with their usual complexity.

  6. @Gary Walsh, emperor’s new clothes, eh? benevolent dictators do get things done, and as opposed to Daniels, Pence and many others who just say no! that is my money, PE has given to the community to buy their support. Generous to the Parks dept, funding much at Garfield when everybody else is funding northside (Holliday Park), but a big thank you to you
    for telling the other side. One aspect of that is he kept it inside the party (there is no democracy within a political party, they are businesses, and probably people in the eyes of 5/9 of the SCOTUS) When those benevolent dictators are gone, ain’t going to be anybody to step up to the plate of the arts and civics.

Comments are closed.