Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Donald Trump and the Boy Scouts of America

On my honor, I will do my best 
To do my duty to God and my country 
and to obey the Scout Law; 
To help other people at all times; 
To keep myself physically strong, 
mentally awake 
and morally straight.
The Boy Scout Oath

On Monday evening I watched Donald Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts gathered for their Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia.

The Boy Scouts deserved better.

He began, not surprisingly, by talking about the size of the crowd, which he somehow seemed to think was there just to hear him speak.

He estimated the crowd to be 45,000 people, which is only a little above the official appraisal.

“You set a record,” he said. “That's a great honor, believe me.”

He told them, appropriately, that this was not a time to talk about politics. And then he gave a speech that was not just political, it was embarrassingly and grotesquely partisan.

He talked about how Boy Scouts make good citizens, and then he said, “The Scouts believe in putting America first.”

To their credit, the Scouts don’t believe in putting America first. At least not ultimately. And anybody who knows anything about the Boy Scouts knows that. It’s “God and country.” In that order.

He talked about draining the swamp and said that Washington was worse than a swamp, it was a cesspool or a sewer. 

The President of the United States told the Boy Scouts that their government was a cesspool. 

Or a sewer. 

Think about that.

He told them repeatedly that the “fake news” media would not cover his speech, that they would say the crowd was only a few hundred, and that they would not show video of the large gathering. CNN and Fox both carried the event live, as did C-Span. And the live cameras were showing the huge crowd even as he told the gathering that it would not be reported.

Another great civics lesson.

He described the Affordable Care Act as, “this horrible thing known as Obamacare that's really hurting us.” And he told them they should pressure West Virginia Senator Shelley Capito to vote for repeal (in spite of the fact that West Virginia is one of the states that will lose the most in Medicaid funding).

And, of course, he told them about election night last November.
“Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th where they said, these dishonest people, where they said, there is no path to victory for Donald Trump. They forgot about the forgotten people.
“By the way, they're not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore. They're going crazy trying to figure it out, but I told them, far too late; it's far too late.
“But you remember that incredible night with the maps, and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red it was unbelievable. And they didn't know what to say.
“And you know, we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College. Popular vote is much easier. We have -- because New York, California, Illinois, you have to practically run the East Coast. And we did. We won Florida. We won South Carolina. We won North Carolina. We won Pennsylvania.
“We won and won. So when they said, there is no way to victory; there is no way to 270. You know I went to Maine four times because it's one vote, and we won. We won. One vote. I went there because I kept hearing we're at 269. But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years. Michigan came in.
“So -- and we worked hard there. You know, my opponent didn't work hard there, because she was told...
“She was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, well, wait a minute. The car industry is moving to Mexico. Why is she going to move -- she's there. Why are they allowing it to move? And by the way, do you see those car industry -- do you see what's happening? They're coming back to Michigan. They're coming back to Ohio. They're starting to peel back in.
“And we go to Wisconsin, now, Wisconsin hadn't been won in many, many years by a Republican. But we go to Wisconsin, and we had tremendous crowds. And I'd leave these massive crowds, I'd say, why are we going to lose this state?
"The polls, that's also fake news. They're fake polls. But the polls are saying -- but we won Wisconsin.
“So I have to tell you, what we did, in all fairness, is 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.
“And I'll tell you what, we are indeed making America great again.”

This is not what Presidents do.

It is not what any other President has ever done.

It is not normal.

A few weeks ago I was invited to give the invocation and the benediction at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for one of the young men in our church.

The ceremony took place in the United Methodist Church in Gales Ferry, CT. Among the many dignitaries taking part were the State Senator and the State Representative from that district. One was a Republican and the other was a Democrat. I don’t remember which was which. They sat together during the ceremony. They went up together to present their congratulations along with formal resolutions by the Connecticut House of Representatives and the Connecticut Senate. They were friendly and civil and pleased to share in this important achievement. And among other remarks they noted that Republicans and Democrats don’t all hate each other.

If only the President had been listening.

Thank you for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. Please feel free to share on social media as you wish. 

1 comment: