Commentary | Old fashioned mudslinging, and political slander, appear to be the weapons of choice for the 2012 Presidential election. While Right Wing pundits and Romney campaign advisers are probably reaching new levels of frustration, some Conservatives have decided to ignore the issues, and simply portray President Obama as evil personified. Although the speakers in Tampa did their best to mind every word, a controversial email from 2009, accusing the President of refusing to sign the certificates for new Eagle Scouts, was resurrected; just in time for the final night of the Republican National Convention. Obama was also accused of being the first President, since the tradition began in 1916, to refuse to serve as Honorary President of The Boy Scouts of America.
A woman named Linda Thicker began this episode of insult and innuendo by writing the following email to Glen Beck back in 2009:
Dear Mr. Beck,
On March 24, 2009 I had the honor of attending my Grandson, David Osborne’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I imagine you have attended one of these wonderful ceremonies. I also feel confident that you are very knowledgeable of what it means to have earned the status of Eagle Scout. Our entire family is so very excited and at the Court of Honor we were all just beaming as our wonderful young man was honored for his achievements. After the Court was closed David’s leaders pulled him aside and explained to him that they regretted to have to explain to him, as sad as it is, that his certificate was different from others they had presented because his certificate did not have the signature of the President of the United States. They explained that Obama does not support the Boy Scouts of America and therefore does not sign the Eagle Certificates. To date I believe there may be as many as 10,000 of this countries finest young men who do not have the signature of the president of the country they have taken an oath to respect and serve on their Eagle Certificate. To my knowledge Congress chartered BSA in 1916 part of which the President of the United States is the Honorary President of The Boy Scouts of America and President Obama is the first sitting president to personally refuse to sign these cetificates. I believe if the country were to be educated on national television of what the Boy Scouts of America stands for they would join those of us who already know, and would be as outraged as we are!….
We have a very small man in a very big office.
The statements about Obama in the email are absolutely false. They have been thoroughly disproved by Snopes and many other fact checking websites. The truth of the matter is there was a delay in delivering the new Obama signed certificates to replace the ones signed by George Bush. The Obama certificates finally arrived in 2010, and any Boy Scout who received an unsigned certificate may request a duplicate signed by President Obama. Additionally, President Obama gladly accepted the position of Honorary President of The Boy Scouts of America within days of his inauguration on January 21, 2009.
The Boy Scouts Of America issued the following official statement on the matter:
This is an official BSA communication.
President Obama-Eagle Scout Certificates
There appears to be some confusion as to President Barack Obama’s relationship with Scouting. To ensure that each of you has factual information if this issue comes up, please review the following statements that will assist you with questions.
President Obama is the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. He accepted this honor soon after his inauguration last year and we appreciate his desire to serve in that position.
President Obama’s signature is on the Eagle Scout pocket card and Eagle Scout wall certificate. As with any change in the administration at the White House, there is lag time between when the new president takes office and the processing and licensing of his electronic signature for our documents.
The President of the United States signature has never appeared on any of the lifesaving awards.
Although he was unable to attend the 100th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C., in February, he did send a very nice letter to congratulate the BSA on its centennial.
The Boy Scouts of America has always respected the office of President of the United States and will, as always, respect the holder of the office.
Jim Wilson, Director, Communication Services
The reasons for resurrecting the Boy Scout story at this point in time are obvious. Since the email was originally debunked in 2010, President Obama has spoken openly about his belief that Gay Scouts, and Gay Scoutmasters, should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America. The idea horrifies many Conservatives, and it is anathema to the Religious Right. Despite the fact that Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney, is also in favor of the Boy Scouts opening their doors to Gay Americans, the Right is quite happy to turn a three year old email into a character assassination of Barack Obama.
Certainly there are enough legitimate issues about the economy, the deficit, ObamaCare, entitlements, immigration, and America’s endless foreign wars, to make pandering to bigotry and homophobia wholly unnecessary. Recirculating a totally discredited story to slander the President reeks of desperation. It is no wonder the media is full of articles accusing the Republican Party of being racist, and having a racist campaign platform.
Our nation is struggling. Our economy is going down for the count, and the country hasn’t been this divided, since the days of Nixon and Agnew. It is time that we put aside the hate, and discuss the issues that matter. Even i f we don’t always agree, we need to work together to solve our nation’s problems, or we will all go down together.