Girl Scouts: The Awful Truth
Indiana freshman Representative Bob Morris is learning the hard way that the Girl Scouts of America is to the progressive agenda as the Komen Foundation is to Planned Parenthood, and the Catholic church (or so Obama presumed) is to an Obama abortion mandate. What is -- in one word -- cover.
In a private e-mail to fellow House members, leaked to a northern Indiana paper, Morris outlined why he chose to abstain from a nonbinding resolution honoring the Girl Scouts of America on its 100th Anniversary -- an organization Morris believes to have become increasingly "radicalized," with ties to Planned Parenthood, the United Nations, and abortion and LGBT advocates.
Overnight, Morris became the fodder of mainstream media and late-night hosts. Even Morris's fellow Indiana House Republicans joined in the mockery, purchasing cases of Girl Scout cookies and crunching away in front of Morris during a House session. Indiana House Speaker Republican Brian Bosma went so far as to don a Girl Scout badge sash for a Gridiron dinner in the same week, where featured as each table's centerpiece was a box of Girl Scout cookies marked "Caution: Contents Radicalized."
It comes as no surprise that calling out one of the great vestiges of iconic girl power and time-honored Americana garners great public outrage, especially amongst Morris's fellow Republicans, where real honor appears to be going along to get along. What Morris's fellow Republicans fail to understand is that in collective outrage, there is truth -- exposed. And the truth is that, for all the generations of earnest, jumper-clad cookie entrepreneurs the GSUSA has lovingly nurtured, the organization is moving left at a fast clip, even if only at its highest levels of leadership. This may be news even to most scouts, if not the parents, citizens, and business leaders who volunteer their time and talent as troop leaders. In fact, it might be news to anyone who doesn't understand the language of progressivism -- global, reproductive rights, climate change, empowerment, diversity, sustainability, fairness, community, social justice, universal, green -- think nearly any advocacy, save capitalism.
Still, the larger point seems to have been lost amidst all the shock and awe Morris elicited. Why are the accusations so altogether unthinkable in the first place?
Full disclosure: I am as endeared to the doe-eyed keepers of the Thin Mint for which I would sell my soul most days as anyone. I cringed when I heard Morris's original remarks. It was just the crazy talk the left feeds upon -- and the right, consequently, takes such pains to avoid. These were the Girl Scouts of America he was talking about, for heaven's sake. Like millions of other scouts and now a parent to scouts, I've experienced only the best Girl Scouts has to offer -- lessons in leadership, character, entrepreneurship, Christian ideals, service to others, and macramé -- under the tutelage of leaders with no pretense or agenda.
Frankly, what Morris was suggesting was so far-fetched that it was almost as unthinkable as suggesting that Republicans don't always have conservatives' best interest at heart; the church has been infiltrated with agents of social justice; our own prestigious military has in its ranks enemy Islamists and apologists; the public education system to which we entrust our children is full of radical, anti-American educators; the mainstream media -- the fourth estate -- is a virtual arm of one political party; women's reproductive health includes the right to practice infanticide; and Sesame Street Muppets endear children to government. What's next -- asking us to believe that the man elected to keep the American dream alive could govern antithetically to individual liberty? Shall we see if James O'Keefe can fit into a brownie uniform?
The question we should be asking ourselves is, why not? Why wouldn't we expect the Girl Scouts of America to have contemporized its agenda with the willing assistance of progressives, as has every other American organization under the sun? No one doubts that the vast majority of GSUSA troops function fairly autonomously, as intended, with nary a murmur of Planned Parenthood, but it still behooves parents to know the company their daughters keep (literally) and the agenda that company espouses -- the same company to whom millions of scouts entrust $750 million in gross cookie sale revenue annually.
Here's just a sample:
GSA's CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Urban Renewal and Community Development under former Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano. Napolitano vetoed a ban on partial birth abortion, along with legislation requiring parental consent for minors during her governorship. Chavez calls Napolitano her "mentor."
Troop Capitol Hill - an honorary, bipartisan, Congressional Girl Scout troop - in conjunction with GSUSA's Policy and Advocacy office, helps to create public policy benefiting girls, and to bring Girl Scouting to underserved communities. Troop Capitol Hill has been lead, at one time or another, by Senators Barbra Mikulski (D), Susan Collins (small r), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), and Kay Granger (small r). According to the GSUSA website, "The Honorary Congressional Girl Scout Troop has helped Girl Scouts of the USA secure nearly $15 million in federal funding over the past few years. These funds have been distributed to Girl Scouts councils for innovative programs in public housing, rural communities, and prisons."
GSA's Media Relations Expert and Spokesperson, Josh Ackley, was the founder of the now-defunct band, "Dead Betties," a homoerotic band with a disdain for the mainstream. In addition to his media duties, Ackley has been involved with Scout delegates to the United Nations.
GSUSA Public Policy and Advocacy Associate, Clare Bresnahan, is also a fellow at the New Leaders Council, an organization "Training The Next Generation of Progressive Political Entrepreneurs." According to Bresnahan's bio at the NLC site, she is "armed with a background in social justice and nonprofit advocacy..."
While GSUSA claims no formal relationship, as early as 2004, then CEO, Cathy Cloninger, gave an interview to the NBC Today show in which she stated GSUSA partners with Planned Parenthood. In fact, Up to two dozen individual councils have openly admitted to partnering with Planned Parenthood for sex "education" materials, including the pamphlet, "How to Know You Are Ready For Sex."
Betty Friedan, the co-founder of NOW and NARAL, sat on the GSUSA Board from 1970 to 1982.
In 2010, the GSUSA partnered with the Urban League, urging scouts to pledge their time and commitment to the "I am Empowered" initiative working toward the goals of affordable healthcare; safe, decent, affordable, energy efficient housing on fair terms; access to jobs with a living wage and good benefits; and every children ready for college, work, and life by the year 2025.
Every Girl Scout, through annual dues, is a member of and contributes to the WAGGGS, or Worldwide Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Here is WAGGGS statement (in part) to the UN's Commission on the Status of Women:
We demand access to comprehensive sexuality information, services and supplies for all young people. We need it today - and today needed to be yesterday. The young people from more than 20 countries and every continent collectively demand their sexual and reproductive rights:
--All young people must have access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and emergency contraception, in order to avoid unintended pregnancies.
--Accessible, affordable and safe abortion should be made part of the minimum package of sexual and reproductive services.
The WAGGGS and GSUSA partner to sponsor an annual World Thinking Day, celebrating sisterhood in "global thinking," This year's theme is the United Millennium Development Goal no. 7, "we can save our planet." Here is the WAGGGS statement:
The poorest people in the world are the ones who will most feel the effects of environmental degradation and climate change. Ensuring environmental sustainability is a critical foundation for ending this poverty. Girls and young women of all ages around the world are also differently and disproportionately affected by the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change.
The World Thinking Day theme for 2012 is Millennium Development Goal 7: "we can save our planet" and the aim is to raise awareness of the environment and the impacts our lifestyles and choices have on it, so together we can, as one Movement, speak out and take action to save our planet.
Environmental sustainability is the seventh of eight areas of focus made by 189 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000. It is part of the WAGGGS Global Action Theme, which encourages girls and young women to make a personal commitment to change the world around them by linking to an important agenda: the United Nations' Millennium Development Goal.
The GSA's Leadership and Board reads like the who's who of leftism -- not that you would know from their accomplished bios at the GSUSA site. The more provocative findings will require one's own research. There are personal connections to Amnesty International, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Human Rights Campaign, the National Council on the Research of Women, Women's ENews, the green movement, and the wholesome and teen-friendly (cough, cough) MTV. One GSUSA board member actually sits on the board of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Family Watch International does an excellent job of detailing the connections.
Anyone can do the research -- even just a read of the GSUSA site itself -- from the heroines the Girl Scouts' literature promotes -- Elizabeth Gurly Flynn, for one, a founding member of the ACLU and chairwoman of the Communist Party -- to recommended links, Media Matters, and "teenwire," to name just two; and readings, Girltopia and Journeys. Simply put, the evidence is more than overwhelming that the GSUSA is proving to be just one more illustration of the quiet creep of progressivism. For anyone who believes that progressivism must be exposed in all its insidious glory -- rooted out whenever and wherever it is found -- relying on the good faith of any organization, even the iconic Girl Scouts of America, is an unaffordable luxury.
And yet, as a private entity, with questionable tax-exempt status, considering that it is arguably politically active, the GSUSA is free to contemporize as it sees fit. There are plenty of parents who will happily embrace the change, if not simply refuse to question the organization's intentions. Sounds like a voting bloc to me. Others, like Morris, will opt for an organization that defines character as he would for his own daughters, such as the American Heritage Girls, formed in 1995 as an alternative to the GSUSA, "dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country."
In a second letter to Indiana House members, Morris subsequently apologized for painting the entire Girl Scout organization with such a "wide brush" and for the haste with which he did some of his research. While Morris bemoaned Michelle Obama as the organization's honorary chair -- and I agree, Mrs. Obama's fondness for tyranny is no example to young, capable, idealistic girls -- it is true that every First Lady since Edith B. Wilson has served as chair. Mrs. Obama might have a thing or two to say about all those cookies, especially considering that she has enlisted the GSUSA to her Let's Move! campaign of government largesse, but she herself can hardly be blamed for the GSUSA's leftward lurch. Still, Morris owed fellow Republicans -- likely most interested in teaching Morris a lesson in pecking order -- no apology, in my thinking. Perhaps when the Girl Scouts introduce the Sandra Fluke merit badge in contraceptive affordability, Republicans will better recognize testicular fortitude when they see it.
Once progressivism takes root, it's nearly impossible to weed out entirely. With the honor the GSUSA still evokes, it might be downright impossible. A generation of young, empowered girls can carry a lot of water for progressives. It is infinitely easier once that generation no longer knows God, Country, or conscience. Most unfortunately, failing to recognize progressive cover is usually a lesson realized once it's too late.