Playing Politics at Eagle Courts of Honor

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Die-hard Republicans may find it distasteful to present a new Eagle Scout with a congratulatory letter from a Democratic president. Yellow-dog Democrats may feel the same way about letters from Republican senators or representatives. As the 2016 election season heats up (just 445 days left until we go to the polls!), these partisan feelings can become even stronger. They may even tempt you to skip certain letters or add editorial comments as you present congratulatory letters during an Eagle court of honor.

A presenter at a court of honor I attended neatly solved this problem and effectively defused any partisan tension. “Brian,” he said, “you should remember that these letters come not just from the individuals who signed them but from the offices they represent. What’s important here is that your senators, your representative, and your president are sending you congratulations—not that people named Mitch and Rand and John and Barack are.”

The new Eagle, of course, probably didn’t need to hear those words; after all, most kids still have respect for people in high places. For the adults in the audience, however, his words were a powerful statement that some things—including Eagle courts of honor—are more important than politics. That’s a message we all need to hear, and not just during interminable election seasons.

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