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Cub Scout takes knee during pledge

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On 2/20/2019 at 10:45 PM, T2Eagle said:

The quote from the scout was "what I did was take a knee against racial discrimination."  I would definitely not feel supportive of anyone taking the opposite of that position.

As to political statements on the other side of the political spectrum, I have a few scouts who regularly wear MAGA hats to meetings and outings, we don't have a uniform hat, and I don't feel like I have much standing to object to their wearing them even though they are clearly politically partisan.

A couple of them brought and flew a Trump 2020 flag at a campout.  I did make them take that down from the flag pole, I told them they were free to display it on their tent if they wanted to.  Of course at least part of their motivation for that was to tweek their liberal SM, but that's OK it's a long game and I'm a grandmaster.

maga hat would be allowed as its a general patriotic theme,

trump 2020 would not be allowed as scouts are not allowed to endorse any 1 party or candidate

if it was in jest to taunt the SM, that's funny but still not allowed, 

myself and another leader do joke among ourselves over issues,  but any such political chat is outside of scouting, 

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Maga hats are both a partisan political prop and are a symbol of white supremacy. I would instantly drop from any unit that allowed them.

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18 minutes ago, malraux said:

Maga hats are both a partisan political prop and are a symbol of white supremacy. I would instantly drop from any unit that allowed them.

Let us remind ourselves that it is a big country. What you've been told things represent may not be exactly what they do represent.

One is certainly allowed to drop from any troop that allows for symbols that they don't like, but I would suggest that could lead to your youth falling in with persons whose malice is more vile than that of the youth sporting their trite shibboleths.

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Just now, qwazse said:

Let us remind ourselves that it is a big country. What you've been told things represent may not be exactly what they do represent.

One is certainly allowed to drop from any troop that allows for symbols that they don't like, but I would suggest that could lead to your youth falling in with persons whose malice is more vile than that of the youth sporting their trite shibboleths.

Any troop that allows that sort of partisan activities is not going to be productive for that sort of thing. The whole point of saying that we have to be non-partisan is specifically to prevent those shibboleths.

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53 minutes ago, malraux said:

Any troop that allows that sort of partisan activities is not going to be productive for that sort of thing. The whole point of saying that we have to be non-partisan is specifically to prevent those shibboleths.

I think you mistake what it means to be partisan. To allow individuals to express  their political views on non-uniform gear is not partisan. That opens the door for productive debate. One kid brings a MAGA hat, another a Hope-and-Change hat. They invite dialogue upon themselves.

Partisan is using your associations with an organization to misrepresent an organizational endorsement of a particular candidate.

Most people know that if one scout is wearing a hat or even a campaign pin, and another is not, that the scouts are expressing individual -- not organizational -- aspirations.

If the community at large is getting the impression that your troop is favoring a partisan endorsement (e.g., the candidate's banner on a campsite flagpole.) The scouter needs to reign things in. If the individual expressions are leading to boys not working amicably with their mates of differing views, the scouter needs to reign things in. If all the different hats look stupid, the scouter needs to lean on the PLC to adopt a headgear standard.

I say this as a scouter who would probably tell boys to not wear their campaign hats at unit activities. If they have an opinion, they may articulate it while they cook a meal, clean up, chop wood or otherwise serve their fellow scouts. That's me. But, I never rushed my kids out of a troop when my boy's leaders let the scouts sport a slogan. That's basically because all the folks who actually held views I thoroughly despised never dressed the part.

Edited by qwazse
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3 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I think you mistake what it means to be partisan. To allow individuals to express  their political views on non-uniform gear is not partisan. That opens the door for productive debate.

Absolutely -  Engage the scouts and let them understand why hats, slogans, etc, can be interpreted differently, why some people take umbrage at symbols.   Is this not what we want the scouts to be - is this not why there are the three citizenship merit badges.  Don't we want the scouts to grow up thinking, being able to critically examine an agreement, not mindlessly provide what they have been told.  

However, if the debate devolves into a two-sided argument that is not constructive, than it is time to step in.  there is a reason that in the Navy, three topics not to be discussed over the dinner table were politics, religion, and members of the opposite sex.  They can be polarizing.  

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2 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I think you mistake what it means to be partisan. To allow individuals to express  their political views on non-uniform gear is not partisan. That opens the door for productive debate. One kid brings a MAGA hat, another a Hope-and-Change hat. They invite dialogue upon themselves.

Partisan is using your associations with an organization to misrepresent an organizational endorsement of a particular candidate.

Most people know that if one scout is wearing a hat or even a campaign pin, and another is not, that the scouts are expressing individual -- not organizational -- aspirations.

If the community at large is getting the impression that your troop is favoring a partisan endorsement. (E.g., the candidate's banner on a campsite flagpole.) The scouter needs to reign things in. If the individual expressions are leading to boys not working amicably with their mates of differing views, the scouter needs to reign things in. If all the different hats look stupid, the scouter needs to lean on the PLC to adopt a headgear standard.

I say this as a scouter who would probably tell boys to not wear their campaign hats at unit activities. If they have an opinion, they may articulate it while they cook a meal, clean up, chop wood or otherwise serve their fellow scouts. That's me. But, I never rushed my kids out of a troop when my boy's leaders let the scouts sport a slogan. That's basically because all the folks who actually held views I thoroughly despised never dressed the part.

I'm not going to object to differing political opinions. That's certainly part of being engaged. My point is twofold. First, MAGA hats are clearly divisive political slogans related to a specific political campaign and not a "general patriotic theme." Second, they are increasingly a shibboleth toward white supremacy and not simply a conservative take on politics. Neither are anything I want to be associated with. That's the whole point of them being shibboleths is to signal certain things that are not acceptable within an organization like scouting.

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I favor the "other" MAGA :::

Make America Grate Again...  Support the Parmigiana Initiative …   Bon giorno ...

Seriously, the original episode has much to discuss.  Scouts leading a city council opening ceremony, good.

Poorly uniformed, not so good.

"Taking a knee" to protest something, very American in my opinion.  But was the venue appropriate for this?  Maybe not.  Maybe speak to the CCouncil about their (lack of or need for or present)  policies to combat racism or prejudice?  better. 

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5 hours ago, malraux said:

I'm not going to object to differing political opinions. That's certainly part of being engaged. My point is twofold. First, MAGA hats are clearly divisive political slogans related to a specific political campaign and not a "general patriotic theme." Second, they are increasingly a shibboleth toward white supremacy and not simply a conservative take on politics. Neither are anything I want to be associated with. That's the whole point of them being shibboleths is to signal certain things that are not acceptable within an organization like scouting.

I thought @qwazse said it very well.

I think you have to seperate instances where a Scout's actions have the effect of portraying Scouting in a political role from instances where the Scout is merely reflecting his personl beliefs at a Scouting function.  I thought Qwazse's earlier point was spot on - the when Scouts are merely portraying their personal beliefs, the Scoutmaster needs to react when those personal beliefs begin causing issues within the Troop.  

In my part of the country, I see a different effect when people wear a MAGA hat.  Here, in my area, there is a segment of the population that has become so vitriolic towards the current President that they openly show scorn for anyone who would identify themself a supporter.  As a result, we have people (including a few Scouters I know) who see it somewhat as a badge of courage to show support for the President by wearing things like a MAGA hat or having a MAGA bumper sticker.  I think it's kinda like the earlier example of the Scouts who were trying to tweak the liberal Scoutmaster.  

I'd concur - this is where the Scoutmaster has to watch things and react accordingly.

 

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If you would discourage a scout from wearing a Hope T-shirt then you should also discourage the MAGA hats. Politics dont really need a place in scouting there are many other things to focus on. As a conservitive I bite my lip and shoo away parents from talking politics as I get enough of that from working with progressives. We have much too learn from each other outside of politics and its a lot more fun learning scout skills or just doing scouting.

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54 minutes ago, TMSM said:

If you would discourage a scout from wearing a Hope T-shirt then you should also discourage the MAGA hats. Politics dont really need a place in scouting there are many other things to focus on. As a conservitive I bite my lip and shoo away parents from talking politics as I get enough of that from working with progressives. We have much too learn from each other outside of politics and its a lot more fun learning scout skills or just doing scouting.

I can agree with that. All campaign related stuff should be left at home.

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16 minutes ago, malraux said:

I can agree with that. All campaign related stuff should be left at home.

Yep, let’s monitor scouts closely and tell them what they can say, or rather not say. At least within hearing distance of the adults anyway. 

My usual advice is for the adults set the example with their actions and choices. But, that appears to be risky here.

barry

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IMHO, the intersection of Politics and Scouting will be the Environment. I would be not be surprised if the current teen global climate movement continues to grow and appears at Jambo this summer.

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This is a great discussion!

My take on the MAGA hat and the Hope t-shirts is that neither one should ever be combined with a Scout uniform. That is at least against the spirit, if not the letter (maybe that too) of the uniform guidelines combined with the general guidelines that Uniformed Scouts should not participate in political/partisan activities. 

As long as it was not causing disruption in the unit, I would probably not say anything about either if the kids were wearing such things as part of a non-uniformed, non-public activity such as a backpacking trip. If it were causing disruption in the unit, I'd have a discussion with the PLC to come up with a solution (or if in cubs, address it in the parent committee). 

I would encourage my Scouts to participate in whatever political processes they felt strongly about... outside of uniform and without leveraging their status as Scouts in the process. 

As for the boy who took a knee... I don't see protesting racism as a partisan issue, but rather a civil one. I am not sure I have an opinion on whether it was "appropriate" or not given all the circumstances, but I wouldn't flat out call it inappropriate and definitely not disrespectful. Peaceful, civil protest - and I wouldn't even call this civil disobedience since no laws were broken - feel to me more patriotic and brave than disobedient. 

I personally have had issues with the flag and pledge of allegiance for quasi-religious and other reasons since long before Kaepernick took a knee at a NFL game. Within our own Scouting unit, our kids knew my reasons for not participating. At summer camp, I generally found the flag ceremony to always coincide with my need to visit the ladies' room. My issues are personal and faith-based, (Matthew 5:34) and were never intended to be a public protest or anything I wanted to have attention called to or attempt to recruit others to follow suit. I didn't even instruct my own offspring to follow my lead; I explained my reasons and let them choose for themselves. I haven't decided exactly what to do going forward as I take a more visible leadership position in Scouting than I've had in the past. It was one thing to sit in the back of the room as a random committee member and merit badge counselor, and another as an ASM or other prominent leadership role. I think it's something I'm going to have to discuss with the rest of the Troop Committee and see what we figure out. 

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56 minutes ago, Liz said:

I personally have had issues with the flag and pledge of allegiance for quasi-religious and other reasons since long before Kaepernick took a knee at a NFL game. Within our own Scouting unit, our kids knew my reasons for not participating. At summer camp, I generally found the flag ceremony to always coincide with my need to visit the ladies' room. My issues are personal and faith-based, (Matthew 5:34) and were never intended to be a public protest or anything I wanted to have attention called to or attempt to recruit others to follow suit. I didn't even instruct my own offspring to follow my lead; I explained my reasons and let them choose for themselves. I haven't decided exactly what to do going forward as I take a more visible leadership position in Scouting than I've had in the past. It was one thing to sit in the back of the room as a random committee member and merit badge counselor, and another as an ASM or other prominent leadership role. I think it's something I'm going to have to discuss with the rest of the Troop Committee and see what we figure out. 

I have a similar situation with Interfaith worship services. I have a strong sense of my own religious beliefs. If there is a group prayer or response that espouses something that isn't compatible with my religion, I'll sit quietly and pray prayers from my religion. I'd think a similar thing would work fine for the pledge. Unless you call attention to it, few are likely to notice. 

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