Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Open Letter to the Boy Scouts of America

Dear BSA, 

I just read your official statement that I assume is related to Donald Trump's speech yesterday.  I'm sure that your office is inundated with emails both for and against that speech and your statement.  Count my email in the "against" column.

I understand that it is tradition to have the sitting president of the United States given the title of honorary president of the BSA.  I also understand that there is a standing invitation to the sitting president of the United States to speak at the Jamboree.  You gave this sitting president a chance to embody and emulate the ideals and the character of the BSA as stated in the Oath and the Laws.  It is no surprise that he failed.  

Do you need a reminder of the Oath and Laws? 

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.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.


On the whole, Donald Trump's speech was reprehensible and contrary to the core values of your organization.  He cursed in the first 90 seconds of the speech.  He referenced situations upon which he could not elaborate because there were "Boy Scouts" in attendance.  What??? 

However, there are some nice themes in the core of the speech.  His speech writer obviously coached him on what he SHOULD say and what the tone of the speech SHOULD be.  He mentioned confidence and responsibility in passing.

The main idea of the chunk about Levitt was "don't lose your momentum".  That's a good piece of advice to young people who are just starting their journey.  Of course, the way it was framed was inappropriate.  And Trump contradicted himself and said that if you don't have momentum, it's still okay.  What???

But Donald Trump cannot resist making it all about himself.   At every turn he went on tangents that stroked his ego.  He could NOT stick to the script and applaud the BSA and their accomplishments. He could NOT make it about them in any way at all.  EVERY time he started to, he interjected a statistic, an aside, a comment, what have you about HIMSELF.  For goodness sake, he even brought up Hillary and the election again.

AND he incited the crowd - mostly of young, impressionable boys - to boo his foes.  A grown man felt the need to encourage young men to join him in disparaging people with whom he has a beef so that HE could feel important.  And they followed.  I'm assuming that the adult leaders in the crowd got swept up and booed too?  Or were the children who were carried on the wave of hatred just too loud and drowned out the admonitions of the adults to maintain their integrity and not to boo other human beings.  

What about the fact that this man, the man standing in front of thousands of young men, is a known adulterer, and a sexual predator who bragged about sexual assault?  How many of the young men in the audience have a mom who has been assaulted, harassed or generally persecuted in some way because of her gender?  (How many themselves have been victims of adults who just take what they want and not worry about the aftermath?)  How many of the young men in the audience will be faced with a choice of how to treat a member of the opposite gender in a situation where there is an imbalance of power?  How many will be BRAVE and resist the culture and do the right thing, and how many will use the behavior of this man - the president of the United States - as an excuse to make the wrong choice?

Now it's up to YOU, the Boy Scouts of America, to be BRAVE and distance yourselves from the attitudes, words and behaviors of this man.  You need to stand up, buck tradition and revoke his honorary president of BSA status.

Show these young men what it means to be men of integrity.

Sincerely,
Milaka Falk