Witt: Jamboree not for politics, despite Trump’s tirade

So, President Donald Trump goes and speaks to the national Boy Scout Jamboree and immediately creates a national furor.

First, it should be noted that all past presidents who have spoken to the Jamboree have avoided talking politics and steered their remarks toward the values of scouting and the advantages to the youth who are scouts.

President Trump, early in his speech, is quoted as saying, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?”


Then what does he do? He almost immediately launches into a political polemic, a tirade against his supposed enemies, even telling his Health and Human Services secretary that he might be fired if he can’t deliver the health care vote.

And of course he has to excoriate President Barack Obama, noting that he never came to a Jamboree (which he didn’t, even though he delivered a recorded message). The point being, why was it necessary to chastise the former President at all? Shouldn’t this have been an uplifting occasion?

He managed to throw in a few catch phrases, like “We’re doing a lot with energy.” Of course, he never elaborated on what exactly we’re doing with energy. Maybe it’s just important that we’re using a lot of it.

He let the Scouts know that “I’ve known so many great people.” How wonderful for him. Perhaps he wanted these young people to know that they might have a chance to know a great many wonderful people as well.

He informed them that there are Levittowns in West Virginia. Since probably 95 percent of the people in the audience were not even born when Levittowns were being built, it seems unlikely that any of them knew or cared about this little tidbit of information.

And then, to give credit to all the Scouts in the audience, he thanked them for aiding his electoral victory: “So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted to Make America Great Again.” This despite the fact that most of the audience was not of voting age.

The point of all this is that President Trump can make a fool of himself any time he attempts to speak off the cuff, even to a vast audience of teenagers and maybe that, in itself, isn’t so important.

But while he consistently does this, whether speaking before the Boy Scouts or with world leaders, both friendly and not-so-friendly, he sets the stage for our true enemies to take advantage of the carnival atmosphere that permeates our government processes and detracts from the real and important work that should be getting done.

For, while he fritters away his time making inane speeches, tin-horn despots like Kim Jong Un are playing hardball behind his back and, presumably, responsible people in government and in our military, are trying to develop policies to deal with the very real problems throughout the world, including trying to keep our friends on our side at the same time that the President belittles them and assumes they are unnecessary for a stable world.

It would sure be nice if, in the next three and a half years, we would not have a government run by tweets.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.