Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scout's Dishonor

A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Donald Trump is none of these things, but he is the President of the United States (don't remind me), and so he got to address the annual Boy Scout jamboree this past week in West Virginia.  And what transpired was a speech that many observers said was not unlike the sort of speech Adolf Hitler used to give boys in the Hitler Youth, the Third Reich's version of Scouting.
Trump, in short order, bashed Barack Obama and attacked his predecessor, a former Boy Scout, for not addressing a jamboree in person (Obama addressed the 2010 jamboree by remote), and he also coaxed the boys into booing his arch-nemesis Hillary Clinton, giving children with Y chromosomes license to lash out at adult without one.  And the hated Democrats weren't the only targets of Trump's barbs.  He chided Attorney General (and Eagle Scout) Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russia investigation and not backing up the President - not by name, but by riffing on the Scouting credo.
"As the Scout Law says, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal - we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that," Trump said as a veiled reference to Sessions' rare moment of integrity.
The Boy Scouts certainly weren't prepared for this.
But Randall Stephenson, president of the Boy Scouts of America, should have been.  Stephenson, who is also the chief executive officer of AT&T, knew that Trump couldn't keep politics and petty grievances out of his speeches, yet he invited him to speak anyway.  Needless to say, the Boy Scouts - already regarded as an organization out of step with the times for its culturally conservative values - are under fire for letting Trump come and speak to "the little fellows," and some parents are threatening to pull their little fellows out of the organization.   
Camp Fire USA, lads?     
The Scouts have survived - barely - charges of homophobia and the controversy of support from the Mormon Church (which has recently pulled support for the Boy Scouts' teen programs in response to, of course, the Boy Scouts' efforts to accommodate gays).  They're going to have a tough time recovering from this. 

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