The Scouts of Boy Scout Troop #86 had, for many months as their leader, an older Scout who was a bit of a hard nose. He was a drum major for the Olathe South Marching Falcons, and he led our Troop with an emphasis on structure and discipline, with rigidity and order…
Needless to say, 50 or 60 high school kids on a Monday night weren’t exactly stoked to comply with his sanctimonious leadership style.
As his 18th birthday approached, we began considering who we wanted to be his replacement. It was more or less assumed that our new leader would be one of the older Scouts that had been with the Troop for a longer period of time. More than likely, our new Senior Patrol Leader would be one of the Scouts that were in his Patrol, the term for a group of Scouts within the Troop itself.
The Senior Patrol Leader is the Scout who decides where the Troop will go for the monthly camping trips. One weekend a month, every month, the Troop spends a weekend learning important skills at various locations throughout the Kansas City area. Some locations are near facilities that can help Scouts earn Merit Badges that they wouldn’t normally be able to earn.
One weekend we camped at a park located near an airport, operated by the University of Missouri, where we spent the weekend earning our Aviation Merit Badge. Another weekend, we camped near the depot of an old railroad that once served the States of Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas (KTA) in the 19th century. We helped their museum change railroad ties on the still-operating line, and in the process we earned our Railroading Merit Badge.
But those trips had happened under previous leadership, and we wanted our new Senior Patrol Leader to plan future trips to places like those, to the places that we wanted to go. I guess that sounds about right for a bunch of adolescent teenagers. (NOTE: Back in MY day… teenagers were rebellious and self-centered. FYI)
At some point before the election, proposed as more of a joke than anything else, the name of one of the younger Scouts was recommended. He wasn’t part of the youngest group of Scouts who had just recently joined the Troop, he joined with the group before that. He had been with the Troop no more than nine months.
The argument was made that as a younger Scout, it would be easy to convince him to see things our way. In essence, we believed he would do as we said because he would be a “pushover”. A young Scout, wanting to fit in with the older Scouts…? Every camping trip would be where we told him we wanted to go.
No one in the Troop was excited to vote for any of the candidates… so the majority of the Troop voted for the “pushover”. One month later, our new Senior Patrol Leader subjected the younger Scouts to an “underware check”. It was the first camping trip with him as our new leader.
We enabled that to happen by electing someone we wouldn’t have chosen under different circumstances.
The Catholic Church.
The Boy Scouts of America.
The United States Military…
The United States Supreme Court.
The Movie Industry.
The Music Industry.
The Hotel and Service Industry.
The Fast-Food Industry.
Even in small businesses. “Ma and Pa” shops that only employ a handful of people…
Like the United States Senate.
Once the light pierces the darkness, it’s hard to go BACK to the way things were before. To do so would mean ignoring what has been seen, forgetting what has become KNOWN.
That is why the DARK AGES are part of our PAST… our HISTORY. Not our future.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure THEY have a better shot at making it. That they start out with more opportunities than I had. By working to make sure their future is successful… MY future will be as well.
What will we leave behind when we go? In this moment, I’m thinking not so much as will I be remembered… but will anyone be around to do any remembering? Will they have the luxury of leisure, to sit and contemplate the past; or will they be so busy just trying to SURVIVE in the moment, that they’ll be unable to take the time to expand their horizons?
When you must spend every waking moment in a constant struggle to put food on the table, things like education take a back seat. You know… “When I get around to it.”
So much is up in the air right now as our nation stands watching… faced with a choice that is all too clear. There is so much that we must do, and so much of it must be done RIGHT… as we may not have this chance again.
What will our children make of this moment? How will democracy be judged by future generations? The political structure that we grew up with is now gone. It died with the passing of the Republican Party. All that remains is a hollow shell of what once was, held up only by our belief in it… a stiff breeze is now all that’s required.
When you SEE something… SAY something!
Because that’s how things CHANGE.
Right now the men on the ballot this fall are TWO SIDES of the SAME COIN, and I cannot in GOOD CONSCIENCE, vote for either. That worries me…
That should worry EVERY American Citizen.
Shall we RATIFY equality… or must women wait ANOTHER 100 years?
The choice must always be ours!
“… with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”