Fred Osgood (FOSGOOD@CI.PHOENIX.AZ.US)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 08:11:08 GMT
I was at the Jamboree and was talking to friends in Security. They
were working most of the Jamboree with the Army and Secret Service to
map out various scenarios for a Presidential visit. The White House
preferred a low key "the President to suddenly appear amid a group of
jogging Scouts and disappear" approach, the Scouts feeling that it was
important for "ALL of the scouts to have an opportunity to see THEIR
President." Obviously agreement was not reached. Just think of the
impact if when the Russian Scouts leaped over the falling wall, the
President in Scout Uniform was there to greet them.
The President and the Boy Scouts
The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 1993
Every four years the Boy Scouts of America hold a Jamboree
traditionally capped by a visit from the President of the United
States or his stand-in. And most Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt
on have made it their business to find time to speak to the young
mem,bers of this now venerable institution. Not this time.
The Boy Scouts is an organization now considered "controversial" in
the circles that Mr. Clinton travels in because of its ban on
homosexual troop leaders. This week the Scouts weren't privileged to
receive a visit from the President or his representative. The White
House's explanation -- Scout's honor -- was that scheduling problems
precluded Mr. Clinton's attendance at the event held in Fort A.P.
Hill, Virginia. That left the National Jamboree with the President's
appointed stand-in, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Late Monday Mr.
Babbitt also canceled.
Spokesmen for the Boy Scouts of America have courteously declined to
make any negative comment about the shabby treatment accorded them.
Messrs. Clinton and Babbitt and their staffs could profit by the
example set by the Scouts. Among other requirements, the
organization's rules state, "A Scout is polite to everyone regardless
of age or position."
Since the position of the Scouts vis a vis homosexuals isn't very
popular among politically progressive folk these days, (Mr. Clinton's
assistant housing secretary, Roberta Achtenberg, fought United Way
funding for the Scouts while in San Francisco) there's good reason to
conclude that the administration decided it would be better to skip
the Jamboree altogether.
Ronald Reagan recovering from colon surgery during his presidency sent
his wife to speak in his place. The Scouts, of course, could hardly
expect the same from the current President's wife, now busy
formulating policy. Even so, there's no doubt that when the
administration wants to pay its respects by sending a representative,
they can find one. The President did, in February , meet a delegation
of Scouts at the White House -- but this, needless to say, is a very
different matter from a public appearance honoring the Scouts.
The Boy Scouts, born early this century, was modeled on a variety of
youth groups here and abroad. It was conceived by interested citizens
who had concluded that there were some kinds of education crucial to
the development of children that schools failed to provide.
It's hard to imagine what those 19th Century idealists would think of
today's schools, which most of the time fail to provide even the
basics of education. That the brainchild of those idealists survives
today isn't surprising. The founders of the Scouts knew a thing or
two, apparently, about young people -- about, above all, the
inexhaustible attractions of challenge, and of high standards and the
pursuit of merit.
Under the current circumstances, it is cause for celebration that
young people today are drawn to an organization like the Scouts, whose
laws call for adherence to values now viewed as somewhat old fashioned
-- values such as courtesy, trustworthiness, reverence, loyalty and
wonderfully enough, good cheer. At a time when educators are busy
conceiving of newer and faster ways to distribute condoms to
schoolchildren, an organization who's Oath still pledges young members
to keep "physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.,"
will seem, of course, out of date to some. For money (and we'd bet,
that of a lot of other people) the Scout Oath represents infinitely
saner rules for survival than all the demonstrations now going on in
grade schools, showing how the put condoms on bananas.
The Clinton White House may have calculated that it was far less risky
to dodge the Boy Scout's quadrennial Jamboree than alienate a vocal
political interest group already angry over Mr. Clinton's policy on
homosexuals in the military. If so, Mr. Clinton and his strategists
might be well advised to follow the famous Boy Scout motto, "Be
Prepared" for the snub of the Scouts is one of those small acts of
political expediency that tell worlds about an administration and it
may yet come back to haunt this one.
Robert D. Novak
To the Point
Creators Syndicate, Inc.
August __ , 1993
White house gets no Boy Scout badge for cooperation
In the confusion over who would represent the Clinton administration
at the annual (sic) Boy Scouts Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Aug. 1
through Aug. 10, the White House notified the organization that
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt would attend, before asking the
Cabinet member himself.
The Scouts have become politically controversial in liberal circles
because of their policy excluding homosexuals as troop leaders. --
making the Jamboree less attractive for politicians. President
Clinton's aides said that he could not squeeze out any time during
the 10 days.
On Sunday, Aug. 8, two days before the event ended, the Boy Scouts
were told that Babbitt would fill in.
But Interior department officials say that the secretary heard nothing
from the White house until Monday , Aug. 9. Babbit was scheduled that
day for a major announcement on grazing fees before hitting the road
Whether of not he was anxious to risk the gay lobby's disfavor, the
call came to late for him to accept.
Troop 853, Mesa, AZ
... and a good old Bobwhite too.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City