- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

Richard Regan, the one-note sensitivity trainer with the Lumbee-Cheraw bloodlines, claims to be educating the teachers and principals of Montgomery County.
The latter are only too eager to go into the fetal position and acknowledge the emptiness of their credentials.
There goes the name of the "Ten Little Indians" play at Paint Branch High School. Here comes a socially acceptable title in its place: "And Then There Were None."
Mr. Regan has been on the warpath the last few years, working extra hard to be offended by the state of Maryland, looking far and wide for innocent names that jar his sensibilities. It is not an easy job, trafficking in indigestion, but it is steady work. An offer to share a peace pipe is not an option, given the leperlike qualities of smoking.
In a way, Mr. Regan has come to be a litmus test in the Washington region. When he is fussing with the various institutions around the state, the region is apt to take this as a good sign of sorts, if not a "return to normalcy," however normalcy is being defined down these days.
It seems Mr. Regan does his best work in the lull between scares, and Washington is up to three scares in the last 14 months: the terrorist attack of September 11, the anthrax assault on the U.S. Postal Service and last month's sniper shootings.
There is the question of priorities. The question is best posed around Mr. Regan when there is no overwhelming fear in the vicinity, when pumping gas is a dread-free activity. That is his cue to find a word that activates his tear ducts. His action after the cue confirms he has a clue.
Montgomery County remains an easy target, if only because Montgomery County sometimes aspires to be Berkeley, Calif., East. Alfred Muller, the one-time mayor of Friendship Heights, made a bid to be the No. 1 anti-tobacco zealot in the nation, and made a name for himself, until he checked out the private parts of a 14-year-old boy at the Washington National Cathedral. That was too much. He aimed to control the tobacco urges of his citizenry. Yet he could not control his urges around a 14-year-old boy.
The water is different in Montgomery County, no doubt, and that goes double in Kensington. In fact, make it a double in memory of Santa Claus, who was deemed to be offensive in Kensington last winter. Mr. Claus never has hurt anyone, of course, and his capacity to be offensive came as a shock to nearly everyone who has sat down on his lap at the shopping mall.
Mr. Regan is making a habit out of tapping into Montgomery County's progressive charm, the predisposition reinforced by his hard-fought battles with unthinking Little League teams and Poolesville High School. Frederick County is a tougher assignment, starting with the tomahawk-packing Indian mascot at Linganore High School. That mascot still endures, frightening visitors and athletic opponents alike.
The insult to Mr. Regan is unintentional, a contention once made by Erin Pittenger, the Poolesville mother of four, and part Cherokee. "They are taking away our heritage," she said.
She took pride in the Poolesville Indians, Mr. Regan just took exception. The exception won. The cost to Montgomery County taxpayers was an estimated $80,000. Talk is not always cheap.
Mr. Regan has a considerable amount of work ahead, and possibly boxes of Tums to help him through it. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but the sight of a Jeep Cherokee on the highway is enough to send an ultrasensitive person to the couch of the neighborhood psychotherapist.
The state of Maryland is large enough to provide a lifetime of emotional hurt. Powhatan Beach is unforgivable, not unlike Scaggsville. The fine women of Scaggsville have a reason to object.
Making a career out of imaginary grievances is something of a growth industry, mostly as a convenience to the cable news stations with large gaps of airtime to fill. The sillier position, the better. It takes all kinds, and all kinds take it as a signal to fashion a marginal idea.
Last winter, the red men of the University of Northern Colorado adopted the nickname "Fightin' Whities" in pursuit of both political and intramural athletic victories. The message was an unintended licensing hit, with many whiteys incredibly pleased to be noticed. There was no acrimony, only a push to purchase a T-shirt bearing the logo of the "Fightin' Whities."
Perspective is a funny thing.

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