If you give your children over to the Boy Scouts for a day or two, they may do something to them akin to abuse. This happened.
The Boy Scouts knew what they were getting into when they invited Donald Trump to speak at their national event. They even posted warnings for the troop leaders and scouts, on their blog.
As a unit leader or staff member, you can help make the president’s visit a success by ensuring that any reactions to the president’s address are, as we state in our Scout Law, friendly, courteous, and kind. This includes understanding that chants of certain phrases heard during the campaign (e.g. “build the wall,” “lock her up”) are considered divisive by many members of our audience, and may cause unnecessary friction between individuals and units. Please help us ensure that all Scouts can enjoy this historical address by making sure that your troop members are respectful not only of the president, but of the wide variety of viewpoints held by Scouts and Scouters in the audience tonight.
The speech was a travesty. It was rambling and foggy, the sort of thing that might make one worry about drug abuse or a brain problem. It was insulting to many people. It was inappropriate, including profanity and reference to sexual exploits of famous people (see below). It was dishonest, unfair, un-American, and stupid.
Many felt right away that the Boy Scouts should be asked to formally and publicly disavow the speech or make some sort of comment on what happened. For my part, I called the Northern Star Boy Scout office (that’s our regional Boy Scout thing) and complained. My friend Dave wrote this public letter:
Dear Boy Scouts of America,
During the Kennedy administration, I was a cub scout in Vienna, Austria, a city on the front line of the Cold War. Parts of that city, and nearly every other city in Europe, were still in ruins after the war ignited by an out-of-control demagogue placed in power by a minority of the voters. Part of my mother’s family had to flee their homes to America, while others were murdered by agents of that government.
That is why I forced myself to watch the current president’s speech to the Boy Scouts Jamboree in its entirety. It was a disgrace. It began with outright lies and accusations. (“The fake press will say there were 200 people here.”) It trashed his opponent, who was favored by more voters, though not by electoral tampering with the majority, and whom many Boy Scout parents must have voted for. It favored one religion over another. It used what at least used to be a swear word. It sowed divisiveness amongst Americans. It urged disrespect against a former President. It denigrated the nation’s government itself. It promoted its political campaign rhetoric and co-opted the audience into shouting its slogan.
According to the speaker, he is an honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. I urge you to rescind that title.
I expect that as honorable officials of the Boy Scouts of America, you will issue a statement to all troops identifying the remarks that were inappropriate and did not conform to the Boy Scout regulations about politics.
David J. Formanek
All the media, being fake and all, have gone after Trump (though I’m not sure about FOX news), and generally speaking, the reaction is strong and widespread. Even as this is happening, of course, Trump-trolls are scanning social media for anti-Trump comments, and complaining about how we are taking away Donald’s “free speech.” Which, of course, no one has done. We have the First Amendment right to complain about what the president says, and forces that intend to curtail that right are truly nefarious.
(Note: One item on a local FOX news page decries the comparison liberals are making between Hitler, the Hitler Youth, and Trump’s Boy Scout Speech. That comparison certainly has been made by many! I just watched the famous Hitler to the Youth speech (not the Hitler Youth, just German youth). The comparison is apt, but Hitler was a much more focused orator than Trump.)
Many parents of scouts, and many former scouts, reacted negatively to Trump’s speech and in many cases to the Scouts’ lack of good decision making and failure to take responsibility for the fiasco they knowingly created. See twitter examples below. The BSA, for its part, has as of this writing said nothing other than that they do these events and invite the presidents, so what?
Clearly, the Scouts, as an organization, are clueless, even if many of their members are still prying their jaws off the floor. They should know something about the Constitution by now, and recognize that Donald Trump is the greatest threat to it since Major General Sir George Prevost. After all, the Boy Scouts of America have been in a Constitutional fight or two.
In a five to four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA’s “expressive message” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message.
It is inappropriate to subject youth, especially in the context of an organization that desired to have no undesirables near their boys just in case, to the sort of Drek spewed by Donald Trump at this Jamboree. It is Orwellian, at best, to pretend nothing bad happened, that the Boy Scouts of America didn’t do something horribly wrong by inviting the profane and obnoxious pussy-grabber-in-chief to speak to their kids. The Boys Scouts of America have committed the unforgivable sin of pretending that nothing is wrong, that all is normal, of standing by while our Democracy burns, and perhaps, adding fuel to the fire.
My son will not be joining the Boy Scouts. What about yours?
Example Tweets About The Trump Youth Rally
— Leila Rice (@Leila_A_Rice) July 25, 2017
The Internet is amazing. They’ve already translated Trump’s entire Boy Scout speech from the original German.
— Sage_dude (@Sage_dude) July 25, 2017
As a Scout leader, my stomach is in knots about what Trump did today. If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t. It’s downright icky.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) July 25, 2017
Who in the world makes menacing political speech at a BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE?!?
Oh, yeah. THAT guy. https://t.co/DI0YV0Wrwf
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 25, 2017
I served proudly as a Boy Scout in my youth. Trump has none of the virtues of a scout, and his speech to them was, like him, embarrassing.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 25, 2017
‘These are our children!’ MSNBC host unloads on Trump over Boy Scout Jamboree speech https://t.co/q33aHT5xre
— Joe Hickman (@joehick58) July 25, 2017
— The Hill (@thehill) July 25, 2017
The William Levitt Digression
I put this as an appendix because to get the full force of it all, you have to read a lot of rambling and offensive text and look stuff up in Wikipedia.
I remember growing up in New York State learning that William Levitt was famous for creating white suburbs developing land on Long Island and elsewhere in order to facilitate a white flight from increasingly non-white Manhattan. He may or may not have been involved in the conspiracy to keep public transit busses off Long Island because they were used by black folk to get to places like Coney Island. Anyway, from Wikipiedia:
Levitt refused to integrate his developments. The Jewish Levitt barred Jews from Strathmore, his first pre-Levittown development on Long Island in New York, and he refused to sell his homes to blacks. His sales contracts also forbade the resale of properties to blacks through restrictive covenants, although in 1957 a white couple resold their house to the first black family to live in a Levitt home. Levitt’s all-white policies also led to civil rights protests in Bowie, Maryland in 1963. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed Levitt’s racist policies, and the Federal Housing Administration prepared to refuse mortgages on his next Levittown. Nevertheless, Levitt would not back down and continued planning another whites-only Levittown in Willingboro Township, New Jersey. He fought legal challenges in New Jersey courts until the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
Trump, also associated with promoting and renting segregated housing in New YOrk, went on a long tirade about how great Levitt was, and how the Scouts should aspire to be him.,
… When I was young there was a man named William Levitt. You have some here. You have some in different states. Anybody ever hear of Levittown?
And he was a very successful man, became unbelievable – he was a home builder, became an unbelievable success, and got more and more successful. [Note: Levitt was like Trump, went bankrupt and otherwise failed quite often at business.] And he’d build homes, and at night he’d go to these major sites with teams of people, and he’d scour the sites for nails, and sawdust and small pieces of wood, and they cleaned the site, so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean, and he did it properly. And he did this for 20 years, and then he was offered a lot of money for his company, and he sold his company, for a tremendous amount of money, at the time especially. This is a long time ago. Sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.
And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.
[This may be a reference to Levitt’s divorse, affair with his secretary whom he later married, and his later affair and marriage with a french art dealer, but who knows. Maybe Trump knows more than just that. Anyway, Levitt might have been a fellow pussygrabber.]
Should I tell you? Should I tell you?
You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.
So look at you. Who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right? So he had a very, very interesting life, and the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate, and they didn’t know anything about building homes, and they didn’t know anything about picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it, and the scraps of wood. This was a big conglomerate based in New York City.
And after about a 10-year period, there were losing a lot with it. It didn’t mean anything to them. And they couldn’t sell it. So they called William Levitt up, and they said, would you like to buy back your company, and he said, yes, I would. 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. You won’t get bored, right? You know, truthfully, you’re workers. You’ll get bored too, believe me. Of course having a few good years like that isn’t so bad.
[None of that is true. Levitt became the titular head of the company after he sold it, and it was even named after him, but he never re-owned it. Not that this matters; Just letting you know the alt-facts are flowing. Most of this story is incorrect, muddled, or made up.]
But what happened is he bought back his company, and he bought back a lot of empty land, and he worked hard at getting zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop, and in the end he failed, and he failed badly, lost all of his money. He went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older. And I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party.
[Reminder: this is a speech to the Boy Scouts of America.]
It was the party of Steve Ross – Steve Ross, who was one of the great people. He came up and discovered, really founded Time Warner, and he was a great guy. He had a lot of successful people at the party.
And I was doing well, so I got invited to the party. I was very young. And I go in, but I’m in the real estate business, and I see a hundred people, some of whom I recognize, and they’re big in the entertainment business.
And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt, of Levittown, and I immediately went over. I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood, show business, communications people.
So I went over and talked to him, and I said, “Mr. Levitt, I’m Donald Trump.” He said, “I know.” I said, “Mr. Levitt, how are you doing?” He goes, “Not well, not well at all.” And I knew that. But he said, “Not well at all.” And he explained what was happening and how bad it’s been and how hard it’s been. And I said, “What exactly happened? Why did this happen to you? You’re one of the greats ever in our industry. Why did this happen to you?”
And he said, “Donald, I lost my momentum. I lost my momentum.” A word you never hear when you’re talking about success when some of these guys that never made 10 cents, they’re on television giving you things about how you’re going to be successful, and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape. But I tell you – I’ll tell you, it was very sad, and I never forgot that moment.
And I thought about it, and it’s exactly true. He lost his momentum, meaning he took this period of time off, long, years, and then when he got back, he didn’t have that same momentum.
I’m so glad the Boy Scouts got to hear that inane and inaccurate story.
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