By Bob Ferris
I did the Boy Scout thing. It was basically fine. I absorbed what was good about it and let the other stuff fly on by. It is not an experience I think of daily but it is there on occasion when my fingernails are dirty or I feel the need to help someone cross the street. Knots and compasses along with the camping trips in canvas tents that always leaked come to mind too. But a lot of it was about being with other boys and learning not to be…a dick. Donald Trump was never a Boy Scout which makes me all the more angry about Trump’s political dog-and-pony-show at the National Jamboree in West Virginia.
Boy Scout Oath:
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 above is the Boy Scout Oath we memorized and took at every meeting. I can think of few in public life who live their lives less in line with these principles than Trump. And while most presidents see their obligation to the Boy Scouts as one of setting an example and talking about principle-driven behavior and citizenship such as President Obama did in 2010, Trump took a wildly different road.
Boy Scout Law:
A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
For those not familiar with the Boy Scout Law I have included it above. Read the expected traits and let them sink in starting with trustworthy. It is truly hard to see intersection points between this president and these desired characteristics. In this I find myself surprisingly agreeing with Trump’s new press secretary Anthony Scaramucci who in 2016 condemned Trump for his demagoguery.
Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree appearance was a green-wood campfire started with gasoline. All of it was wrong. It exploited children and its campaign-style tenor violated Boy Scout policies about keeping out of the political sphere. It should embarrass the organization as it did the nation (1,2,3,4). And Trump's words and actions stomped on pretty much every principle imbued by this century old organization. It does not take much to get a bunch of exited young males to roar, what does take skills and character is leadership and in Trump we have far too much of the former and absolutely none of latter. Poorly done indeed.