Indy Pol: Girl Scouts Admire Commies

By Don Rollins

If you’ve always wondered where sanity goes to die, wonder no more. It’s the Indiana legislature – the only known place on earth where an elected official can say Girl Scouts and Communist role models in the same sentence without getting fitted for a canvas blazer.

The genius in question is Indiana State Rep. Bob Morris (R). While the rest of his chamber colleagues were in late February signing off on a resolution recognizing the Scouts’ 100th anniversary, he was hammering them as a “radicalized organization” with a bunch of “feminists, lesbians and Communists” for troop leaders. Worse yet (insert gasp here) he tagged them as the “tactical arm” of Planned Parenthood, that hard-right poster child of all things wrong with America. Despite pressure from within and without the state’s conservative fold, Morris two days later registered a robust non-detraction: “My family and I took a view and we’re sticking by it ... My girls are no longer Girl Scouts. They’re now going to be American Heritage Scouts.”

(AHS is a fast-growing, conservative Christian correlative to the Girl Scouts. It was begun in 1995 in protest of the Scouts’ acceptance of openly lesbian troop leaders.)

But even for his own Speaker, Morris had waxed loony long enough.

He was publicly reprimanded, triggering an ensuing mea culpa – a man-up that would’ve garnered more cred had it not been half a measure: still no signature on the resolution. To be fair, Morris has the right to conscience same as the rest of us. But as is the case with so much of the last ten years of conservative crazy, there resides within a burgeoning, old school, anti-feminist ethos that the even the presence of the Bachmanns and the Palins cannot occlude.

As blogger Patricia McGuire points out in a Feb. 28 entry, the kind of wackiness manifested by Bob Morris (and his many thousands of online supporters) goes beyond Girl Scouts to what she calls “Girl Power” – the full personhood of women; inherently entitled to self-determination, equal standing and equal opportunity.

This deeper problem is manifested well beyond who and how a Girl Scout troop leader loves; it’s there in every attempt to define life at an earlier and earlier stage, every twenty-four cents on the dollar lost to the pay differential, every ad depicting women as the c’mon for everything from beer to cars to Valentine rings.

Seen for what it is, the war of word-war being waged against the Girl Scouts is anti-feminism at an even earlier age.

An elected official attacks women’s leadership with aplomb, sticks with his story in the face of reason and eventually caves.

When it comes to the unique kind of pretzel logic needed to come up with this stuff, nobody does it better than the rightest of the Right.

Don Rollins is a Unitarian Universalist minister in Raleigh, N.C. Email

From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2012

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