The President vs. Scout Law

President Trump addressed the National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America in West Virginia several days ago. His political and self-serving speech was embarrassing and earned Trump a rebuke from the national Scout organization.

The Boy Scout Law states, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

No Scout I’ve ever known, certainly including myself, has ever registered close to a perfect score in following the Scout Law. But we’re expected to try.

Trump was never a Boy Scout. If he were, how would he measure up?

My read is as follows:

Trustworthy: No.

Loyal: To his family and a few other folks.

Helpful: Not usually.

Friendly: Sometimes.

Courteous: NO.

Kind: NO!

Obedient: No — he gives orders, doesn’t take them.

Cheerful: Sometimes.

Thrifty: Yes.

Brave: Not really.

Clean: NO.

Reverent: No.

Most American traditions exist for a reason.

Trump prides himself on ignoring one of them, which he calls “political correctness.”

That phrase is synonymous with common courtesy, or sensitivity to others’ feelings — in other words, Point Five of the Scout Law.

The Scout Law, it seems to me, is akin to the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. The Preamble cites six reasons for the Constitution’s creation by “We the People of the United States”:

To form a more perfect union;

Establish justice;

Insure domestic tranquility;

Provide for the common defense;

Promote the general welfare;

And secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Both the Preamble and the Scout Law establish goals and standards to which their adherents pledge to aspire.

The president and all members of Congress swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, including the goals of the Preamble.

As the popular saying goes, “How’s that working for you?”

Are domestic tranquility, justice, and general welfare thriving under our national leaders? How hard do they try? How many Americans feel secure in the blessings of liberty, and for their kids and grandkids as well?

Loyalty to a political party often works at cross purposes to loyalty to the Constitution.

The congressional party caucuses sometimes require that a member place party ahead of his or her desire to work across the aisle for the good of the nation.

This is not a good thing.

The Constitution, with all its compromises, checks and balances, and divisions of powers, was drafted in order to achieve the purposes set forth in its Preamble.

It was the genius of the document that its founders “worked across the aisle” to bring it forth.

It’s past time that our party leaders — in Washington and in the states — remember that fact.

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