Did you hear the news about the Indiana politician who thinks the Girl Scouts are a "radicalized organization" that's influencing American girls to grow up to be feminists, lesbians and Communists?
Rep. Bob Morris, who grew up in a Midwest Catholic family just like I did, is adamant that the Girl Scouts have been "subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values."
Be jealous you didn't rock the orange lifejacket like I did at Girl Scout camp.
I guess he has a point.
I was a Girl Scout for years. My troop was made up of other girls who attended my Catholic elementary school and we often met in the undercroft of our church for our meetings, although sometimes we went to each other's homes. Our leaders were two mothers named Robyn and Marsha, and sometimes other moms and the occasional dad helped out during big events or projects.
Of course, we sold cookies, back when door-to-door marketing was socially acceptable and you could buy a box for about $2. I remember filling in orders on that big, fold-out chart using my bright-pink squiggle penand being really proud as each line filled up for Samoas, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, Tagalongs, whatever new flavor they introduced each year, and the Thin Mints. Always the Thin Mints.
But it wasn't just about the cookies.
We spent time doing crafts and did volunteer work at the Special Olympics or local nursing home. We once planted a tree in my hometown's park, and spent weeks each summer at Campbell Mountain where we lived in tent cities named after Native Americans. There was also a day camp at the city park, where we built fire pits and ate baked beans out of bowls we fashioned from tin foil.
Contrary to Rep. Morris' assertion, there was never a sex education series called "Healthy, Happy and Hot," although one year there was a talent show and the older girls -- the Juniors, who were mentors -- taught us younger Scouts a dance routine to the entire Dirty Dancing soundtrack. (For the record, the lift never worked out, but I'm pretty sure we earned a "First Aid" badge in the process.)
I'm still connected to most of the girls who made up my troop. I think it's fair to say that my Girl Scout experience was pretty wholesome and traditional, and definitely played a role in shaping who I am today. But I'm going to follow Rep. Morris' lead and make a blanket assumption that I didn't turn out the way he thinks a traditional American woman should turn out, thus proving his point that the Girl Scouts might have made me less than the ideal.
Who's gonna buy my cookies now?
I mean, there's that whole hanging-up-the-apron-leaving-the-baby-behind and going off to war thing I did, which involved such astonishing values like patriotism, loyalty to an oath, respect for authority, and service to my God and my country.
Then there's the switch-a-roo my husband and I have embraced, and I'm not talking about that Catholic family planning business. For the second time in our marriage, Martin and I swapped the traditional roles, and I'm the one who is working full-time while Martin stays home to care for the children. I suppose this is pretty progressive and liberal of us, but trust me, we weren't thinking of anything political when we made the decision.
Instead, I was going all Girl Scout-crazy accepting responsibility, using my resources wisely, dedicating myself to an organization that helps people, all while providing a comfortable and stable life for my family.
He's my helpmate, yo.
As for all that homosexuality and Planned Parenthood/pro-abortion and sexualization Rep. Morris so strongly connects to the Girl Scouts?I learned about those things elsewhere -- from my parents, my faith, my real-life experiences, my education. My family, friends and mentors who come from all walks of life.
And while I'm sure my thoughts and feelings on such topics would fall under the label of feminist or liberal, I'm not the dirty words Rep. Morris intended those to be. I'm not a pigeonholed extreme. I respect myself and I respect others. And so in that good, old American way, I -- along with many others to include those within his own political party -- respectfully disagree with Rep. Morris' accusations and deeply-felt convictions that a national organization dedicated to the empowerment and education of life skills for girls is a contributing factor in the ruination of the American family.
In addition to disagreeing with him, I'll just continue remembering the lessons I learned as a former future Girl Scout feminist, and I will continue to ruin America by providing my kids a similar radical upbringing as I had, teaching them to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for how they behave.
And I'll do all of this so that one day, they too try their best to make the world a better place.
Now living in the Washington DC area with two daughters and an infant son, Julie and Martin continue to document their lives on www.julieandmartin.com, which recently earned the 2011 Parents Magazine Readers Choice Award for Best All-Around Mom Blog.
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