The Collective Shame of the Boy Scout Speech.
Years from now, President Donald Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree on Monday will serve as a powerful lesson on bankrupted moral leadership. It was a cautionary tale for future leaders but, more importantly for us today, it hopefully marked the beginning of the end of the most dysfunctional presidency in American history.
It was excruciating to watch more than 30,000 young boys and teenagers hoot, holler, and cheer grossly inappropriate and crass comments made by the President of the United States. What should have been an inspirational and selfless speech to hard-working kids was instead a narcissistic, immoral train wreck. It was a debasement of the presidency and our spirit as Americans. The speech was everything we teach children not to do or be.
My first thought was that there was nothing inspirational about the speech as one might expect when a President addresses a group of kids. But, I was wrong. The inspiration was there. It was a schoolyard bully championing the abuse of everything and everyone he hates to a seemingly sympathetic group who urged the bully on with their cheers and their clapping. Fight! Fight!
It seems there were no adults on the playground during what amounted to a verbal, dirty brawl. There was no one to stop — or even temper — both the opportunistic bullying and the unimaginable reception it received from children. If we use audience behavior as a barometer, then those Scouts were profoundly moved by the President’s remarks. It seems no one there, adults included, took issue with the fact that what the President was modeling was simple: when you don’t like someone or something, verbal abuse and threats aren’t just acceptable, they’re funny.
That was the lesson the President offered the Boys Scouts of America. It was a far cry from what the Boy Scouts’ website promises: “…a values-based youth development organizations, providing programs for young people that build character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship and develops personal fitness.”