Months before the election, the Girl Scouts of the USA conducted surveys and combed through hundreds of applications to select 75 girls who would travel to Washington D.C. and march in the inaugural parade. But on the eve of Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office in the land, liberals were bashing the Girl Scouts for legitimizing a man they see as harmful to women’s rights.
“By marching in Donald Trump’s inaugural parade, you are failing to live up to GSUSA’s values,” read a petition designed by GSUSA junior troop leader Heather C. “Please do not make Girl Scouts of the USA party to normalizing racism, misogyny, and fascism. Do not march in the inaugural parade.”
In The Guardian, former Girl Scout Jean Hannah Edelstein said that the organization was betraying feminism by marching in the parade.
“The news that the Girl Scouts are sending a contingent to participate in Donald Trump’s inauguration filled me with real rage,” Edelstein wrote. “Yes, it’s a tradition: they’ve marched at inauguration for decades. But does tradition justify collaboration with an administration that promises to oppress the young women it’s supposed to serve?”
The Girl Scouts have, commendably, stood strong against the onslaught of criticism. In response to the petition, the organization released a statement defending their stance.
“Advocating for change on issues one cares about isn’t at odds with participating in a century-long tradition that represents the peaceful exchange of power,” they wrote. “Being truly non-partisan means that we keep our focus on the girls. It means that we go where they lead. It means we can no more turn our back on 75 girls who have chosen to participate in the peaceful transition of power any more than we can on the thousands of girls participating in Women’s Marches the next day.”
It’s really unfortunate that the GSUSA had to issue a statement at all. Why should the Girl Scouts – or anyone else – have to apologize for attending the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States!? Have we really lost that deep vein of non-partisan patriotism that runs through and underneath all of our political divisions?
Well, of course we have. That is, in many ways, why Trump won in the first place. Millions of Americans were suddenly startled out of their stupor – Oh wait…we can be proud of our country again? We don’t have to be ashamed of it? We don’t have to apologize for it? We can just…celebrate the United States?
Whether liberals like it or not, Donald Trump is now the president. His detractors now have a responsibility to respect the office, even if they don’t respect the man who occupies it.
If they need help figuring out how to do that, we have some relevant experience to share.