The Columbus Dispatch, May 26
These are complicated times for girls and boys, and the debate about changes in scouting — as in, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts — is an example.
Both have been facing headwinds for decades. Kids as well as parents are busier than in past generations. Working parents have trouble finding the time to run and support a robust scout troop, and kids have many other options — time-consuming sports leagues and video games, to name two — competing for their interest.
Cultural conflicts have added to the membership decline for both. Boy Scouts no doubt lost some potential families who were turned off by the group’s former rejection of boys and leaders who are gay. Reversing that policy, in turn, alienated many of group’s conservative and religious supporters.
On May 8, Boy Scouts and the Mormon church jointly announced the end of their century-old partnership as of 2020. That will drain many more members and dollars.
The Girl Scouts organization has come under fire from conservative groups who dislike its progressive and feminist outlook and falsely accuse it of promoting abortion and being affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
All of this makes it far more difficult than it once was to simply offer a chance for boys and girls to experience the outdoors and learn life skills. But it’s still worth doing because many kids can benefit from such a program.
Given that the Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA, will have separate troops for boys and girls — as opposed to coed programming — it seems conceivable that the group and Girl Scouts eventually could best serve America’s youth by working together rather than competing.
The histories and cultures are different, and such a transition would take time, but it could be the best way forward for two groups with essentially the same important mission.
The (Toledo) Blade, May 26
Should citizens of the United States stand during the playing or singing of the national anthem?
Yes, it is a sign of respect.
If the tune does not move you, that’s fine. It is simply a sign of respect.
Should NFL players stand for the anthem at the beginning of games?
Yes, in this case, the act of respect is also part of the job — required by team owners.
As of last week, the owners reaffirmed this rule and reasserted their authority.
Many football fans wonder what took them so long.
Even so, the owners have given the players an out — they can stay in the locker room until the anthem has sounded.
And why should owners give the players any choice?
Why not simply say: We pay you a great deal of money. We require, as part of the job, while you are on the job, that you stand for the anthem.
The owners might add what a lot of American feel: It’s not a lot to ask.
Sportscasters are in the bad habit of calling professional football players “warriors.” Warriors are people who go to war — laying down their lives for their country; for us.
Standing for the anthem is a tribute to actual warriors.
But, hey, if some NFL players feel that the gesture of kneeling during the anthem is vital to social justice, let them pay the fines that the league will now impose on them for doing so. Let’s see how many of them do. Their union says kneeling during the anthem is a matter of free speech. And that it is, albeit free speech at the workplace and on the bosses’ time.
Free speech always has a cost. And it is always worth the cost — when the speaker has something to say.