FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jamboree Travesty

by

I don’t blame the Boy Scouts for President Donald Trump’s bizarre speech at the National Jamboree in West Virginia on Monday.

The U.S. president is, after all, the honorary president of the Scouts. If he wants to speak at the National Jamboree, it would be hard to say no.

I don’t blame the boys in the audience who took the bait and booed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama or who chanted “USA! USA!” in response to Trump’s childish cues. They’re impressionable kids.

I’m long past laying blame at the feet of the electorate. It gets us nowhere.

And, honestly, it’s hard to even blame Trump. He’s just being himself — inappropriate, unhinged, narcissistic.

But, as an Eagle Scout, I’m still disappointed at what is yet another stain on the Boy Scouts program.

After finally pulling itself from the mire of discrimination against gay Scouts and leaders, Scouting is on a path to right the ship and lure another new generation to its ranks. West Virginia’s Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, home of the National Jamboree, is proof of that.

Throughout the past week, this paper has had numerous stories and photos showing Scouts having fun and working in our communities. We’ve also explored the economic impact that 40,000 Scouts, troop leaders and others can bring to an area.

And, unfortunately, we’ve also shown how quickly all of that can be tarnished for the benefit of one man’s ego.

Speaking to the children as if they were voters, Trump said his election was “an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”

He recounted the Electoral College breakdown, trying for the umpteenth time to relive the victory he claimed on that night in November. He revisited the Merry Christmas non-issue. He made false claims about the press. He made threats about the health care vote.

He basically defied most of the 12 points in the Scout Law — you know, the one that includes terms like trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind.

But, then again, Trump has made his presidency about defying storied American institutions. The free press comes to mind.

The backlash against the Boy Scouts over Trump’s speech led the organization to put out a statement on Tuesday:

“The Boy Scouts of America is wholly nonpartisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate, or philosophy. The invitation for the sitting U.S. president to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies.”

Of course, that’s not really a response, just a reiteration of the Scouts’ stance on these matters.

The response has been largely panned as not being strong enough.

I can’t say I’m surprised the Scouts wouldn’t say more. It would be a tricky move to come out and disavow some of Trump’s remarks, embarrassing their honorary president and making an enemy of the nation’s top loose cannon.

But, just for the sake of argument, what if the statement included a few more sentences:

“Furthermore, the Boy Scouts of America is first and foremost about kids, about building strong kids with a strong resolve. It is about honesty. It is about succeeding — with humility. It is about service and instilling the drive to help others. It is about encouraging our peers to rise to the challenge and offering a hand when needed. It is about civility.”

That’s the Scouting that I remember.

One man playing the fool can’t change that.

More articles by:

Robert J. Byers is the executive editor of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.

February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail