My prospects for victory in the 2008 race for the 2nd District seat were dim, if not subdim, but it was an opportunity I could not forgo. I could run a purely contrarian campaign — a campaign against the silliness, shallowness, vulgarity and fakery that pervades “serious” campaigns. I had nothing special against Mike Michaud. He just happened to be down range.

As part of my campaign, I publicly pledged never to apologize and never to demand an apology. This did not signify a reluctance to beg pardons from old ladies whose toes had happened to be trod on, or infants whose prams I accidentally overturned. This signified a distaste for the growing numbers of politicians and their affiliated Political-Correction Militias who are forever demanding apologies for one thing or another.

No politicians went around demanding apologies at the dawn of our Republic. They demanded “satisfaction” and if none was forthcoming, a duel might follow. I’m no advocate of bloodshed, but I find it more appealing than bleating.

Even worse than the bleating, there’s the artificial indignation that accompanies it. People who pay prolonged attention to truly professional politicians know that they are very nearly incapable of genuine, spontaneous public emotions. There are any number of complaints by columnists, commentators and retired politicians about the unrelenting scrutiny they endure in these latter, degenerate days. Every move, gesture, grimace, smirk, snuffle, expectoration, expletive and remark may be recorded. Disaster may follow. A person operating under those conditions will wring every spontaneous impulse out of his character.

It’s no secret that politicians at the highest competitive levels hire consultants to advise them about how to dress, how to speak, how to smile, how to walk, ride and blow their noses. And if their advisers fail them, political reporters and columnists are standing by to write about their lapses. I maintain that there is no way a politician on the hunt for votes can ever act without deliberation. Inhibition and self-control are welded to his consciousness. They shadow and overshadow every thought and act.

It follows that a show of indignation free of calculation is about as common as unicorns or winged pigs. So we see Maine Democrats trumpeting indignation against Sen. Michael Willette, R-Presque Isle. He didn’t actually do anything. He has not advocated impeaching Barack Obama as a Kenyan-Marxist-Muslim traitor to his office and country. No, Willette simply passed on a joke about the president settling the ISIS problem at his next family reunion.


The senator spent four years in Augusta as a Democrat without attracting any accusations of bigotry in his caucus. Now that he’s a Republican, leading Democrats have discovered his true character and want him out of his committee chairmanship, out of Augusta and off the planet.

Maneuvering for partisan advantage is not all that’s involved here. This ready-to-roll indignation flourishes because millions of Americans have sunk into a fetid, plobby, blobby, slithering, oleaginous swamp of sensitivity. It seeps into every corner of our nation’s life and befouls it. So it has come to pass that murders and assaults accompanied by insensitive racist, misogynist or homophobic remarks are classified as “hate crimes.” Ax murderers are well advised to mind their tongues as they go about their bloody business, or they get into serious trouble.

Currently, we are having a National Indignation Festival celebrating the Indiana Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. Democrats, the Internet, gay rights groups and the muddystream media are united in an absolute frenzy of sensitivity. Pay attention here: This does not compel any citizen to do anything. Like the RFRA law passed by Congress in 1993, it forbids the government from putting a burden on religious practices without a compelling state interest. It allows persons who claim their religious rights have been violated to go to court and make their case.

Gabriel Malor is a legal writer who is gay but not indignant. His judgment about the uproar? “This big gay freak-out is purely notional. … No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in 20 years of RFRAs nationwide.”

It doesn’t matter that the law has never done what the Indignant Ones foresee. It doesn’t matter that it’s done nothing at all in Indiana. Lawyers and pundits will come forward to prophecy all manner of dread outcomes. The indignation must be kept alive. People enjoy it too much. It makes them feel sensitive and superior.

John Frary of Farmington is a former congressional candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and publisher of Email to [email protected].

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