Boys Scouts, Trump and American Values

To paraphrase he-who-shall-not-be-named “who the hell wants to talk about politics on a writing blog?” Alas. These are the times we live in. Times when we have no choice but to acknowledge the shitshow unfolding in the World’s Greatest Nation (TM).

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Even the Senegalese hawkers selling beach blankets on Andalusia’s Costa de la Luz have opinions about HWSNBN, and are happy to share them. We can hide, apparently, but we can’t run from the catastrophic wrong of 8 November, 2016.

That disaster touched down at the Boy Scouts Jamboree on 24 July, ripping through common sense and common decency like a Russian-sponsored tornado.

A few things I learned reading the TIME transcript of Trump’s Boy Scout speech.

The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts.

Boys, ONLY BOYS, make the best citizens.

“Many of my top advisers in the White House were Scouts. Ten members of my cabinet were Scouts.”

Or maybe just the best yes-men to megalomaniacs?

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is here tonight…. Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky Country in Montana…. He makes sure that we leave our national parks and federal lands better than we found them in the best scouting tradition.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry of Texas, an Eagle Scout from the great state…. So, Rick, thank you very much for being here. And we’re doing — we’re doing a lot with energy. And very soon, Rick, we will be an energy exporter. Isn’t that nice? An energy exporter.

What he didn’t add was that the administration’s bright idea for energy production involves stripping federal lands of environmental protections so private companies can devastate more of America’s vanishing wilderness.

Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the Scout oath… And hopefully he’s going to gets the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.

Ah yes, it’s Obamacare that hurts people. Not being bankrupted by medical bills; watching a loved one die too soon because they couldn’t afford healthcare; or being shut out of healthcare by rapacious insurance companies that refuse to cover “preexisting conditions”. Nope. Not that. Definitely the Affordable Care Act. Definitely to blame.

As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty I will tell that you that.

Blind loyalty. Wonderful character trait. For a Nazi foot soldier.

The fake media will say, “President Trump spoke” — you know what is — “President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.” That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.

Go on. Infect the minds of impressionable kids with your disgusting, manipulative paranoia-mongering bullshit. Your the President. It’s your prerogative.

he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts so I’m not going to tell you what he did.
(CROWD CHANTING)
Should I tell you? Should I tell you?
(APPLAUSE)
You’re Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.

Did it involve pussy grabbing?

We have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College. Popular vote is much easier.

Which you lost.

Under the Trump administration you’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” again when you go shopping, believe me.

But only in December. The rest of the year it’ll be: Sieg heil!

Do you see the billions and billions and billions of additional money that we’re putting back into our military? Billions of dollars. New planes, new ships, great equipment for our people that are so great to us. We love our vets. We love our soldiers.

Not enough to, you know, provide them with proper healthcare or mental health services, but still.

It’s the newest, largest and most advanced aircraft carrier anywhere in the world, and it’s named for an Eagle Scout — the USS Gerald R. Ford. Everywhere it sails that great Scout’s name will be feared and revered,

“Feared and revered” — it’s the new “winning hearts and minds”.

What you’ve done few have done before you.

Erm, been a Boy Scout? Pretty sure a few people have done that in the past 107 years.

But the words “duty,” “country” and “God” are beautiful words.

As long as you’re not Muslim. If you’re Muslim and say anything about duty or God we’ll call you a terrorist and lock you the fuck up.

What we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for make America great again.

Either he’s admitting voter fraud, or he’s confused about the age of Boy Scouts.

 

This should be funny. It’s not, because it’s true. There is nothing funny about that man. Nothing funny about the wrecking ball he is gleefully swinging at the already fragile American infrastructure. Nothing funny for the people trapped in the rubble.

We have to find the words to fight back. Here are some books that can help us find them.

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Common Sense – Thomas Payne

On Liberty – John Stuart Mill

No is Not Enough – Naomi Klein

Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

Requiem for the American Dream – Noam Chomsky

 

 

 

Notebook Heroes: Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was genius at keeping a notebook. Some of his extensive journal became Walden, a timeless, beautiful assertion of Transcendent philosophy and call to individuality and authenticity.walden

 

The Journal is a doorstop volume gleaned from Thoreau’s notebooks. It is a treasure drove of description, anecdote and inspiration from a writer who was never short of — nor shy of expressing — ideas. The following excerpts are from a journaling workshop I run from time to time. Savour them then pick up a pen start your own notebook.

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Henry David Thoreau, The Journal

Nov. 9. In our walks C. takes out his note-book sometimes and tries to write as I do, but all in vain. He soon puts it up again, or contents himself with scrawling some sketch of the landscape. Observing me still scribbling, he will say that he confines himself to the ideal, purely ideal remarks; he leaves the facts to me. Sometimes, too, he will say a little petulantly, “I am universal; I have nothing to do with the particular and definite.” He is the moodiest person, perhaps, that I ever saw. As naturally whimsical as a cow is brindled, both in his tenderness and his roughness he belies himself. He can be incredibly selfish and unexpectedly generous. He is conceited, and yet there is in him far more than usual to ground conceit upon.

I, too, would fain set down something beside facts. Facts should only be as the frame to my pictures; they should be material to the mythology which I am writing; not facts to assist men to make money, farmers to farm profitably, in any common sense; facts to tell who I am, and where I have been or what I have thought: as now the bell rings for evening meeting, and its volumes of sound, like smoke with rises from where a cannon is fired, make the tent in which I dwell. My facts shall be falsehoods to the common sense. I would so state facts that they shall be significant, shall be myths or mythologic. Facts which the mind perceived, thoughts which the body thought.

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Nov. 12. Write often, write upon a thousand themes, rather than long at a time, not trying to turn too many feeble somersets in the air, — and so come down upon your head at last. Antaeus-like, be not long absent from the ground. Those sentences are good and well discharged which are like so many little resiliencies from the spring floor of our life, — a distinct fruit and kernel itself, springing from terra firma. Let there be as many distinct plants as the soil and the light can sustain. Take as many bounds in a day as possible. Sentences uttered with your back to the wall. Those are the admirable bounds when the performer has lately touched the spring-board.

C. is one who will not stoop to rise (to change the subject). He wants something for which he will not pay the going price. He will only learn slowly by failure, — not a noble, but disgraceful, failure. This is not a noble method of learning, to be educated by inevitable suffering, like De Quincey, for instance. Better dive like a muskrat into the mud, and pile up a few weeds to sit on during the floods, a foundation of your own laying, a house of your own building, however cold and cheerless.

Methinks the hawk that soars so loftily and circles so steadily and apparently without effort has earned this power by faithfully creeping on the ground as a reptile in a former state of existence. You must creep before you can run; you must run before you can fly.

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Jan. 27. Trench says a wild man is a willed man. Well, then, a man of will who does what he wills or wishes, a man of hope and of the future tense, for not only the obstinate is willed, but far more the constant and persevering. The obstinate man, properly speaking, is one who will not. The perseverance of the saints is positive willed-ness, not mere passive willingness. The fates are wild, for they will; and the Almight is wild above all, as fate is.

What are our fields but felds or felled woods. They bear a more recent name than the woods, suggesting that previously the earth was covered with woods. Always in the new country a field is a clearing.

The Journal and Walden on Amazon

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