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On Trump’s Partisan, Inappropriate Speech at the BSA National Jamboree

July 25, 2017

Speaking as an Eagle Scout and former scouting enthusiast, and as a dad with a son in Cub Scouts, these responses to parts of Trump’s speech at the BSA National Jamboree are despicable. If Donald Trump is now a role model for some segment of Scout leaders today, then it’s no longer the organization that helped me, as a youth, find better moral paths.

Whatever the irritating response to Obama by some Scouts and leaders present, I’m willing to bet my life that many others were upset with the speech. Based on some of the replies and comments seen here, I think that may be the case.

To be clear: The focus of Scouting is not loyalty. Loyalty is one virtue enmeshed in a network of virtues that contribute to one’s overall character. The true focus of Scouting is right living and the pursuit of higher morals. The goal is to develop leaders who possess those traits. Those foci and the larger goal are delivered in the context of camping, fellowship, education, and adventure. Trump’s speech distorts the nature of Scouting’s deeper message and principles.

I left this statement on the BSA’s Facebook page (under a picture of Jamboree tents):
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As an Eagle Scout and former long-time staffer at the H.Roe Bartle Scout Reservation in Osceola (MO), I’m appalled that BSA invited this particular president to speak in front its youth. The present officeholder is an affront to the ethics of the organization, as well as to the office he holds. Even if some of his anti-Obama lines received applause and approval from a segment present, that’s no excuse. Traditions, such as inviting sitting presidents to speak at Jamborees, must be broken when they are at risk of violating the norms of the organization. This particular president has shown no ability to move beyond partisanship. He has also displayed a strong tendency to disrespect women. Inviting this president to speak was a tragic mistake. I hope an apology is forthcoming. The BSA now needs to begin repairing the damage caused.
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I’ll be watching this story closely in the near future. – TL

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One Comment
  1. An apology from Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. – TL

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