The Patriot Post® · Leftists Suddenly Worry About Politicizing Boy Scouts
What could be less controversial than the president of the United States addressing the Boy Scouts of America jamboree in West Virginia? Of all the public addresses given by President Donald Trump in the first seven months of his presidency, surely this one would keep Democrats and their media attack dogs from going into hysterics.
Think again. Leftists managed to characterize the speech with their typical vitriol, exaggeration and animosity. Some even compared the event to a Hitler Youth rally. But it doesn’t take long to figure out that much of the criticism has less to do with Trump talking politics at the jamboree than it does with Trump talking about the “wrong” politics.
Case in point: New York Magazine’s headline reads, “The 14 Most Inappropriate Moments From Trump’s Speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree.” The headline suggests that Trump invited the Scouts to join him for beer and poker after the event. Yet many of the 14 points are based on Trump criticizing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the press. Trump’s speech was indeed political, and we could have done without his reference to a party in New York, but it was hardly inappropriate.
Opining in The Washington Post, Stephen Stromberg took issue with the ideological content and erratic nature of Trump’s address. He remarked, “Sure, scout membership skews right. But those of us who did not fit that stereotype know that the organization is and should be open to all. I spent middle and high school in a small troop that met in a Mormon church but contained Jews, agnostics, a Seventh-day Adventist and various others.” But Trump didn’t say anything about religion. Talk about erratic.
Scroll down a few paragraphs and the real reason for the outrage over Trump’s remarks comes to the surface. Stromberg adds: “When one of our fellow scouts came out of the closet, he left the troop. But the BSA has since revised its membership policies to better reflect its mission of offering guidance to all young men.”
There you go. Stromberg and other leftists aren’t as upset over Trump’s partisan remarks as they are about his failure to touch on the issues that Democrats want the boys to hear. We doubt Trump would have been criticized had he stated that the Scouts need to be more diverse and inclusive. Had he called for more transgender Scouts, Democrats would be lauding his remarks.
Some of the criticism of Trump’s speech is understandable. He should have focused more on the Scouts’ history and core principles, or on American patriotism and civics more generally. But the most critical remarks have come from Democrats and Republicans who already have issues with the president.
While the content of Trump’s address has been the focus, far less reporting has been done on the fact that the Scouts cheered just about everything he had to say, despite the fact that the president of the Scouts discouraged them from showing partisan support for Trump. But they couldn’t resist. Despite his flaws, the Scouts know that Trump will defend and fight for their values.
Apparently, however, the organization’s leadership wasn’t pleased. On Thursday, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh stated, “I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree.”
But Surbaugh didn’t mind getting political when transgender Scouts were admitted earlier this year. At the time, Surbaugh exclaimed, “Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past. And these new laws vary widely from state to state.” It was no different when they accepted homosexual Scouts four years ago and homosexual leaders two years ago. In other words, some in the BSA are perfectly willing to change according to the shifting political winds, as long as those winds are blowing in a certain direction.
Surbaugh’s apology seems hypocritical and one-sided. After all, where were the apologies to the Scouts offended by the Left’s political and cultural ideology over the past generation? And did anyone apologize when delegates to the 2000 Democrat National Convention actually booed Boy Scouts when they walked on the stage?
There were no apologies then, just political attacks against the Scouts. Philip Wegmann writes in the Washington Examiner, “The Boy Scouts have come under fire in the last two decades because of their membership standards concerning gay boys and leaders. They were regularly attacked as bigots in the editorial pages of the New York Times. They were mocked by the likes of Madonna (the elderly Queen of Pop creepily proclaimed she knew ‘how to scout for boys.’) And they were assaulted in the courts again and again and again.”
As for the media, it’s beyond hypocritical that they’re suddenly worried about the Boy Scouts of America. The Left has successfully forced the BSA to change core principles and beliefs for many years, but suddenly media types are worried that Donald Trump criticizing Barack Obama is somehow going to tarnish a century’s worth of Boy Scout values. All this damage had been done long before Trump took the stage at this year’s jamboree.
The Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America state that the organization “must not, through its governing body or through any of its officers, chartered councils, Scouters, or members, involve Scouting in political matters.” The handbook should have been revised years ago, because the BSA is very much a political organization these days. All President Trump did was provide a different political view. And that’s the real reason why his speech has been condemned.