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Donald Trump’s Address to the Boy Scouts

July 28, 2017

I was engaged in scouting from grade three through ten when in lived in PA and OK. I was an indifferent Boy Scout, achieving a Star ranking (the third highest level) and never aspired to become an Eagle scout because I found some of the required merit badges too daunting. I did enjoy the camaraderie of being in a group of peers who enjoyed the outdoors, enjoyed each other’s company, and enjoyed working as a team on various community projects. I also believed in the ideals espoused by scouting: thriftiness, bravery. cleanliness, tolerance, and reverence toward a Deity and the values of our country. I recall our scoutmasters being stern and demanding. But as a “non-swimmer”, I also recall the scoutmasters and camp counselors insisting that we not bully or tease those who could not meet some of the physical demands of scouting. Of all of the lessons I learned, THAT was the most important one: to be kind to those who struggle and not boastful when you are superior.

With this background, I was appalled to read about our President’s address to the Boy Scouts at their annual Jamboree, attended by thousands of young men from across the country. In the speech, he taunted his rivals, encouraged the scouts to join him in his disparagement by booing, and intimated that the accumulation of wealth would result in sensuous rewards that he could not mention because the scouts were too young.

I don’t know the political leanings of my scoutmasters, but given what I know of Boy Scout leaders I met as an adult I would guess they would vote for the most conservative candidate on the ticket. The scouting ideals— particularly thrift and reverence— seem to align with conservative thought. But as leaders who promoted tolerance towards others in the group of young men, who took action to avoid taunting and bullying, I cannot believe they would support a President who used his platform to inspire young men to instead taunt his rivals, who promoted profligacy, and who demonstrated his conviction that raw power was a value. I would hope that the scout leaders who value reverence for the values of our country would choose to not invite this President to speak again at a Jamboree.

  1. Byron Knutsen
    July 29, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Right on Wayne.

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