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The new normal?

August 16, 2017
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

The Boy Scouts of America has recently come under fire for President Donald Trump's hate-filled partisan political speech at this year's National Jamboree. While the BSA did not have control over what President Trump said, it did have control of the BSA response, and that response has, so far, been woefully inadequate.

The BSA has refused to categorically deny President Trump's claim that he got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying that Trump's speech to the National Jamboree was the greatest speech that was ever made to the BSA. Instead, the BSA provided a weak statement saying only that the Chief Scout Executive's message to the Scouting community speaks for itself. I've read Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh's letter and unfortunately it is nothing less than a tacit endorsement of Donald Trump's disrespectful, hateful, comments that went way beyond even a respectful partisan stump speech.

Simply stating that the BSA doesn't endorse a partisan speech at a Scouting event falls woefully short of what's needed to preserve and protect the principles of Scouting in the hearts and minds of impressionable Scouts in the face of President Trump's assault on those principles.

Surbaugh only wrote this letter after a massive outcry from the Scouting community and the general public. He has chosen to only apologize to those Scouting families that were "offended by the political rhetoric." He apparently was not personally offended nor is he concerned about the message Trump sent to those Scouts who weren't offended.

It should not have taken a public outcry for the BSA leadership to immediately recognize Trump's inappropriate, divisive, partisan, un-Scouting-like message, recognize the damaging effect this message would have within the Scouting community, particularly for those Scouts attending the Jamboree, and take immediate action to disavow those comments.

Instead Surbaugh chose to write a cover-your-butt letter, apologizing only to those offended, and to let Trump's message continue to resonate uncontested within the Scouting community.

All that the BSA Leadership has to do is read some of the comments on its Facebook page to realize the damage Trump has done to the Scouting image. If the BSA Leadership thinks it's OK for a sitting president speaking at the National Jamboree to disparage a former president; disparage our country's free press; refer to our federal government representatives in Washington, D.C., as not just a swamp but a cesspool or sewer; refer to polls, many very respected, as Fake News; and much, much more, then maybe it's OK with them that Trump's un-Scouting-like message is still resonating with many Scouts and Scouting families. Maybe this is the new normal for Scouting, but I certainly hope not.

Russell Moody

Cape Coral



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