scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Politics and Scouting
Michael A. Poretsky (MPoretsky@AOL.COM
Mon Aug 07 2000 - 13:38:09 CDT
Here is how it works...
My wife, Judy, and I were waiting for the start of the annual Salute to Israel Parade last May when one of the local TV reporters came over to us. It would have made a good piece, I guess, since both of us were in uniform since we were marching as part of BSA contingent which leads the parade.
"Can I ask you a question?" said the reporter.
"Sure" we said, thinking she was going to ask us about the parade and the part Scouts play in it.
Then came the kicker: "What do you think about Hillary Clinton?"
I explained, very carefully, that since we were in uniform we could not answer a politically charged question like that lest anyone get the impression that BSA was endorsing or oppossing Mrs. Clinton. (Not that we didn't have a position to talk about; both Judy and I are very active in Brooklyn politics.)
The reporter was outraged! How could we agree to talk to her and not answer her questions?!!
I countered by asking her if she thought there was nothing interesting in Boy Scouts and the Salute to Israel parade. She looked at me - and Judy - as if we were both crazy. And then she left for more colorful sound bites.
I have encouraged Scouts to get active in politics - as long as they do so as citizens in training and not as Scouts.
Politics is the mechanism that makes our country work. If we do not encourage good people to participate in the nitty-griity work that gets other good people elected into office, then we will have the government we deserve.
So stuff envelopes, make phone calls, distribute flyers and all the other work that goes into an election campaign. Just don't do it in uniform
Yours in Scouting,