Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Donald Trump - Everything A Scout is Not...

A Scout Is.... Those three words begin what is known as  "The Scout Law", the twelve points of which, are meant to be guiding life principles that  members of the Scouting movement are to live by. Most Boy Scout meetings begin with a recitation of those twelve points, along with the pledge of allegiance, and the Scout Oath.  

As a youth, young adult and later Adult Scout volunteer, I couldn't tell you how many times I have said those words.  More  than would be possible to count, and never once in the nearly 40 years i have been associated with the Boy Scouts of America  have I ever felt anything but pride at being a part of a movement that holds those twelve principles  at its core.

That is, until now.

Yesterday  in West Virginia, at 19th Boy Scout National Jamboree.  President Trump, spoke to the assembled Scouts and Scout leaders,   continuing  a tradition that dates back to  the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.

The President of the United States is also the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America.  Over the years Presidents have spoken both in person, or by pre-recorded video.

1n 1953 Richard Nixon attended while he was Vice President, where he shared a recorded message from President Eisenhower.  Ike would attend in person in 1960.    In 1964, at Valley Forge, President Johnson challenged Scouts to remember that the future of the country is in their hands.

Nancy Reagan attended standing in for her husband in 1985. President George HW Bush in 1989 praised Scouting’s role in battling “the five unacceptables: illiteracy, unemployment, child abuse, drug abuse and hunger.”

 President Clinton challenged Scouts to continue their tradition of service and Good Turns for others.  Then in 2001, President George W. Bush began his remarks with a tribute to a group of scouts who had lost their lives earlier that week, before going on to exhort the attendees to continue Scouting's long tradition of service and duty to God, Country and Self

In 2010 President Obama  was unable to attend in person but instead, he spoke via video to mark the  BSA's 100th birthday.

Yesterday at the The Summit Bechtel Reserve national Scouting center, President Trump stepped upto the podium in front of 40,000 of America's future leaders and what did he talk about? Service? Patriotism? Duty beyond self? Nope.    Donald Trump spent the occasion doing what he does best. Talking about himself, and complaining about people he doesn't like.   Donald Trump decided this was a great opportunity for a campaign rally.  From The Telegraph

Mr Trump flew to West Virginia to a field full of 40,000 chanting and cheering Boy Scouts, telling them he was happy to leave Washington behind.

"Who the hell wants to speak about politics?" Mr Trump said, telling the boys at the National Scout Jamboree he wanted to talk about how to achieve their dreams.

But politics proved too hard for Trump to resist

"Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. you've been hearing about with the fake news and all of that," he told the teenaged boys, sitting state by state in brightly coloured t-shirts.

"You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians and I see the swamp and it's not a good place," said Mr Trump

Mr Trump said he has 10 former Boy Scouts serving in his cabinet and White House, and brought a few on stage as examples of Boy Scout leadership in action, including Tom Price, his health secretary.

"Hopefully he's going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare," Mr Trump said, referring to Obama's signature health care legislation, as the boys booed.

"He better get them, otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired!'" he said, borrowing the catch phrase from his reality television show, "The Apprentice."

The political-style rally drew widespread criticism on social media, particularly from parents.

The Donald didn't stop there, he went on to rehash his electoral college victory, insult Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Bloomberg News reporting:

Trump spent several minutes reminiscing about his electoral victory recounting the night of Nov. 8, as several states were being called for him. He said Clinton didn’t work hard enough, and paused as the group of boys responded with a hail of boos.

“Do we remember that day? What a beautiful day,” Trump said, adding that it was difficult for a Republican to win the Electoral College and attacking the media for discounting his chances.

“These dishonest people, they said, ‘There is no path to victory for Donald Trump,’’’ he said. “They forgot about the forgotten people.’’

Trump also took the opportunity to attack his predecessor.

“By the way, just a question. Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?’’ Trump asked the crowd. “The answer is no, but we’ll be back.’

I am not going to post any of the video from the speech, you can find it online yourself if you want to relive the rantings of narcissistic sociopath.    The was beyond embarrassing. It was an insult to everything Scouting is supposed to stand for.

CNN's Chris Cilliza  has compiled the 29 most cringe worthy moments from the speech:    Here they are -- in the rough order Trump said them.

1. "Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it's about 200 people. It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. You set a record."
The Charleston Gazette estimated 40,000 people in the crowd -- which is a lot! Not sure there is a "record" for attendance at a Boy Scout Jamboree. Also worth noting from the Gazette: "Press staff handling the event did not allow local media to bring film equipment into the amphitheater."
2. "I said, 'Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?' Right?"
Trump, apparently. He spent the VAST majority of this speech jabbing at his political foes and recounting his 2016 successes.
3. "Today, I said we ought to change it from the word 'swamp' to the word 'cesspool' or, perhaps, to the word 'sewer.'"
Remember: "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
4. "Many of my top advisers in the White House were Scouts. Ten members of my Cabinet were Scouts. Can you believe that? Ten."
One of them is Eagle Scout and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump neither brought along on the trip or mentioned in his speech.
5. "Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important."
Your guess is as good as mine.
6. "We're doing a lot with energy."
This was part of Trump's introduction of Boy Scout and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who was in attendance. Apparently, we are "doing a lot" with energy.
7. "He better get them. Oh, he better -- otherwise, I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired.' I'll get somebody."
This "joke" was directed at Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price who was, awkwardly, standing on stage next to Trump. It came amid Trump's public effort to force Sessions to resign and less than a week after Trump threatened Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, on health care.
8. "As the Scout Law says: 'A Scout is trustworthy, loyal' -- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that."
Is this about Sessions? Republicans in the Senate on health care? Staffers leaking to reporters? All of the above?
9. "I'm waving to people back there so small I can't even see them. Man, this is a lot of people."
This has to be a record, right?
10. "By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?"
As Trump was saying this, CNN was showing shots of the crowd. Also, that crowd was "massive" and "record setting."
11. "By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?"
"Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
12. "I'll tell you a story that's very interesting for me when I was young. There was a man named William Levitt -- Levittowns, you have some here, you have some in different states."
This is my favorite part of the entire Trump speech. He regales a crowd of kids -- most of whom are teenagers -- about life in New York in the post-World War II age. Nothing like knowing your audience!
13. "Oh, you're Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life. So -- look at you."
14. "He so badly wanted it, he got bored with this life of yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places."
15. "And in the end he failed, and he failed badly. Lost all of his money."
Aim for the stars, kids!
16. "I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party."
Again, Trump is speaking to a crowd of teenagers. And recounting his glory days in New York City high society -- decades before they were even born.
17. "You have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum, and if you don't have it, that's OK. Because you're going to go on and you're going to learn and you're going to do things that are great."
Momentum is the key. Having it is everything. If you don't have it, though, everything is still going to be great.
18. "I have to tell you our economy is doing great."
For the 80th time: Trump is speaking to tens of thousands of teenagers.
19. "Do we remember that date? Was that a beautiful date? What a date."
He's talking about Election Day 2016. Because of course he is.
20. "But do 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?"
ICYMI: Donald Trump won the 2016 election, winning 304 out of a possible 538 electoral votes. That election was 260 days ago.
21. "And you know we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College -- popular vote is much easier."
"Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
22. "I went to Maine four times because it's one vote, and we won. But we won -- one vote. I went there because I kept hearing we're at 269."
He's speaking to teenagers gathered for their annual Jamboree in West Virginia. And he's talking about how Maine splits its two electoral votes by congressional district.
23. "But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years -- Michigan came in."
"Many, many years."
24. "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?'"
Not sure if you've heard but Trump won Wisconsin. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
25. "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."
Most of the people who were in the audience weren't 18 in 2016 and, therefore, did not vote to Make America Great Again.
26. "And by the way, under the Trump administration, you'll be saying 'Merry Christmas' again when you go shopping. Believe me. 'Merry Christmas.'"
Trump gave this speech on July 24.
27. "They've been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase. You're going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again, folks."
First of all, "they." Second of all, Merry damn Christmas.
28. "I promise you that you will live scouting's adventure every single day of your life, and you will win, win, win and help people in doing so."
So much winning. You will be bored by all of the winning.
29. "I've known so many great people."
The best people. Believe me.
To say I have always been incredibly proud that Scouting is pivotal influence in my life would be a massive understatement.  The experiences and friendships that I have had and made while in Scouting were, and remain, a key factor in making me the person I am today.

 I truly believe that Scouting is a force for good in a troubled world, and participation in Scouting is one of the greatest gifts any parent can give their child.   What happened at the Jamboree yesterday  is an affront to everything about the program I hold dear.

Sadly some of blame here must fall on the heads of BSA Leadership in Irving TX.   They knew exactly what they would get with Trump,  and allowed this happen anyway.   Arranging to have Vice President Mike Pence speak instead would have been a slightly awkward, but hardly impossible thing to arrange.    Instead what happened is the integrity of the BSA itself, was seriously damaged yesterday.

Listening to Trumps self- aggrandising partisan  tirade I was sickened and horrified,  and for the first time in my life  I am ashamed to say I am a Scout.

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