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….)