September 1, 2000


The most shameful moment

by Mark Draper

It was one of those unbelievable moments, one which captured and revealed starkly the essence of an entire movement, convention, and campaign. Consider the following contrasting events:

First, the Democratic delegates exalted — nearly worshiped — the most disgraced president in U.S. history even as word spread of a new grand jury impaneled to consider criminal charges against him. This would seem to be irony enough, but it gets worse.

Next, these same delegates actually booed a group of Eagle Scouts who had been invited by the Democratic Party to the convention. As the uniformed scouts took part in the opening ceremony, the delegates, seated in the front of the hall, waved signs - and booed. The Boy Scouts — who thought they had been invited in recognition of their impressive achievements — were shocked by the verbal attack.

Jeering at innocent children seems like the kind of behavior that ought to get a delegate thrown out of the convention. But Al Gore and other leaders of the Democratic Party have yet to say a single word of criticism about the delegates' jeering at the Eagle Scouts.

It seems that the Democrats have much greater esteem for homosexuals than for Eagle Scouts. Democratic National Committee spokesman Rick Hess refused to criticize those who jeered the Eagle Scouts, but instead stressed that the Democratic party is deeply committed to homosexual rights. Hess said that "Democrats across the board support equal rights for gays and lesbians and we want to make sure they're not discriminated against."

If a homosexual had received such public scorn, the Democratic leadership would be up in arms, but apparently, it is perfectly acceptable to mock and jeer at Eagle Scouts.

The booing of the Eagle Scouts was led by the California delegation which has 34 openly homosexual delegates, the largest concentration of any state. Delegates who participated in booing the Boy Scouts included California delegates Craig Christensen and Gloria Johnson. Alex Mallonee, another California delegate, said he sympathized with the homosexual delegates and thought it was "insensitive" to invite the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts are honored by most Americans for helping to raise good citizens, loyal and honorable husbands, kind and loving fathers. That Democratic delegates would boo those Boy Scouts who had shown the greatest leadership potential is beyond belief.

It is hard to think of anything that reflects worse on the Democratic Party. On the very eve of naming Al Gore as its presidential candidate, the Democratic Party disgraced itself.

These men and women — charged with the responsibility of naming a major party's candidate for the nation's highest office — seem to need a lesson in both civility and civics.

As for civility and common decency, these youngsters had been invited by the Democratic Party. They came as guests expecting to be recognized for their achievements. Instead, they were subjected to hostile ridicule and jeers. The nation's finest young people do not deserve such vicious treatment.

As for the lesson in civics, these delegates to the Democratic Convention apparently do not understand that the Boy Scouts is an organization devoted to teaching boys to be good citizens and training them to become leaders.

There are some 15 million Boy Scouts and they all learn to do their duty to God, their country, and to other people. What is it about these goals that makes the boys learning such values fit targets for ridicule and scorn?

Boy Scouts learn 12 points of Scout Law, to be: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Which of these values is it wrong for boys to learn? Which of them make these youngsters deserve to be publicly mocked and scorned?

The boys who appeared before the Democratic Convention were all Eagle Scouts, holders of the highest honors granted by the Boy Scouts. It takes years of effort and public service to earn this award. It took only moments for the delegates to the Democratic convention to completely disgrace themselves.

Amazingly, this remarkable low point in modern politics, although captured on national television, has gone almost completely unreported. Only the Washington Times has seen fit to report this instance of outrageous and shameful behavior by delegates to a national convention. Maybe if more Eagle Scouts went into journalism we could hope for higher standards.

Mark Draper is associated with The NewsNET, Washington D.C., and can be reached at (301) 762 1751.

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