Running for president, Donald Trump lived in a lawless wilderness where only special counsel Robert Mueller has dared to go.
Truth was a casualty on his first day as president. Anger is his best friend in firing up his white voter base. Tweets are a weapon to mock political opponents. Lately, things are getting worse. Sometimes you wonder why.
My father had a simple answer straight out of Americana. Trump was never a Boy Scout. Indeed, that is true. Organizations that stressed character and helping others were the farthest thing from the Trump family home in Queens, New York. Expanding their sketchy real estate empire was everything for father Fred and son Donald. There was neither church nor military service to focus on the greater good.
To my surprise, my father recited the Scout Law by heart, from his Wisconsin boyhood. There are 12 points — goals for each scout to strive for. Here they are, in part.
Trustworthy. Tell the truth and keep promises. People can depend on you.
Isn't that quaint? The Washington Post keeps track of Trump's falsehoods. But the newspaper can't bottle the ever-changing lightning-like "truth," which is whatever Trump says in a given moment. The Saudi Arabian crown prince? Oh, innocent of a journalist's bloody murder. And besides, if he's not, it isn't a deal breaker as we need the arms business, he said. The Central Intelligence Agency — what do they know?
The "Dreamers" immigration bill must be done with "love," he told senators ages ago, before destroying the deal with ugly words unbecoming in a barroom.
Truly, Washington lives in a post-truth world now.
Helpful. Volunteer to help others without expecting a reward.
Why would he do that? In the president's world, according to The New York Times, everything is "remorselessly transactional," an apt phrase. It's like knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. Trump plucked Jefferson Sessions from the Senate to be attorney general; therefore Sessions was meant to be a personal protector from the Russian investigation. Trump's roar of wrath when Sessions recused himself was loud and clear. But what did Sessions think he was supposed to do?
Friendly. Be a friend to everyone, even those who are very different from you.
The press tries to ignore Trump's insults. But political wives Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain say they are not over Trump's ferocious attacks on their husbands. His words leave scars on the body politic.
Cheerful. Look for the bright side of life. Cheerfully do tasks that come your way.
This is so touching. I remember presidents who smiled and laughed — such as sunny Bill Clinton. Barack Obama beamed his way to the White House. George W. Bush put on a friendly demeanor. At the very moment he was sworn in, Trump wore a scowl.
Thrifty. Work to pay your own way. Try not to be wasteful. Use time, food and natural resources wisely.
Trump's folds and pounds of flesh violate this sensible advice. He is bloated; honest doctors would say obese. More important, his denial of climate change contradicts the Scout Law of conservation. A major U.S. government report, just issued, says that global warming looms over the economy in coming years.
After wildfires ravaged swaths of California, don't we all believe evidence of climate change? Yes, all except an unpopular president who lost the popular vote. Trump loves coal, a chief culprit of our warming planet. He took America out of the Paris climate agreement, in a harmful blow to other nations trying to bring the earth back into balance.
As for wastefulness, the national debt has ballooned more than $200 billion this fall. The wall he threatens to build on the southern border would add to his financial folly.
Brave. Face difficult situations even when you feel afraid.
Hate to break it to Trump, but this means traveling to visit American soldiers, marines and sailors in real war zones. Afraid to venture close to combat, he's dodged this presidential duty. If we have troops in harm's way, then Donald Trump has to own that responsibility as commander in chief.
Good grief. And that's only half of Scout Law.
To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the website Creators.com