Editorial: Morris made absurd statements on Girl Scouts

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

On Feb. 18, Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris sent an email to other Republican representatives, advising them not to sign a resolution that honored the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of America.

Morris claimed in the email that after receiving information from constituents he had done “a small amount of web-based research” and discovered “a close strategic affiliation” between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.

Morris admits you won’t find evidence of this affiliation on either organization’s website, but he insists that “abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.”

Both the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have issued statements denying any sort of relationship.

The lawmaker also wrote that the fact that first lady Michelle Obama is honorary president should concern lawmakers and that all but three Girl Scout role models were “feminists, lesbians or Communists.” Morris also claims “many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles.”

He concludes by urging fellow lawmakers to think carefully before they “extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization.”

Morris’ fellow lawmakers were apparently not as concerned as he had hoped they would be. His email quickly went viral, and as Girl Scouts everywhere expressed outrage, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma expressed his feelings by purchasing 278 cases of Thin Mints to share with the legislature.

Every member of the House except for Morris signed the resolution honoring the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary.

Morris issued an apology Thursday for making an “emotional, reactionary and inflammatory” blanket accusation. The representative still stands by his individual claims, however, saying only that he wishes he had called his fellow lawmakers instead of sending an email.

Girl Scouts of America responded with grace, issuing a statement that they are ready to move on, and the apology is accepted.

Morris has painted an interesting picture of a radicalized pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organization that somehow manages to avoid the question and not take a stance.

What Morris was attempting to do was expose a dangerous organization that is brainwashing young women, but he instead exposed the ineptitude of some of our elected officials.

Some of his claims were a little conspiratorial, but some were just plain wrong. In response to Morris’ insinuation about Michelle Obama, Girl Scouts of America issued a statement that suggests Morris’ “small amount of web-based research” was far from adequate: “Not only is Rep. Morris off the mark on his claims, it’s also unfortunate in his limited research that he failed to discover that since 1917, every first lady has served as the honorary leader of Girl Scouts, including Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush.”

When we elect public officials, we like to think that they are giving their time to advocate for their constituents’ interests. We also like to think that these people are intelligent, rational and have a modicum of common sense. Our generation likes to think our elected representatives know how to use the Internet, or at least how to hire someone who does.

Morris seems to have missed the lesson in elementary school where the librarian iterates and reiterates that random webpages cannot be trusted. If it would not be acceptable on a works cited, please don’t put it in an email, call it a fact, and send it to everyone in your legislature.

We realize Morris is a freshman representative, but there’s probably some pre-law Indiana student who would love to be an unpaid intern and teach him how to not embarrass himself by trusting the first result on Google. As an elected official, Morris is held to a higher standard, but making sure you have the facts before you make an accusation isn’t a higher standard. That’s common sense.