"Chances are, if you're naming your blog after a Taylor Swift album, your judgment's already suspect."
That's Salon dismissing two teen girls, in a piece on the Girl Scouts and its liberal feminist tendencies. And, as it happens, the line itself actually speaks to the heart of the problem.
Think about what the young country star's songs often embody: A rooted goodness, and higher expectations than instant gratification -- for herself and for those she loves. Are those things that should be so scornfully patronized by the liberal chattering class?
Sydney and Tess Volanski, about to be a rising sophomore and high-school freshman, respectively, started the aforementioned Taylor-named website, Speak Now, when they left the Girl Scouts after eight years because of the group's values clash with their own -- namely, its ties to Planned Parenthood.
The rude awakening for the sisters was the reported distribution of a Planned Parenthood brochure, entitled "Healthy, Happy and Hot" -- which dealt with satisfying sexual urges and procuring a "safe abortion" while living with HIV-- at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts meeting last year. But Volanskis' concerns go beyond that -- to the worldview of the Girl Scouts as a whole.
These girls are bent on reform, rather than destruction, however.
"We were part of a great troop," Sydney says. "We had our Bronze Award and were in the process of planning for our Silver Award. It was a great experience, only marred when we found out that GSUSA is not who they say they are. We were saddened by the fact that we were representing a group in name and financially that had moral viewpoints in direct opposition to ours."
Sydney tells me: "Many Girl Scouts are good, wholesome girls. The problem lies within the national organization's leadership's lack of adherence to their promise of neutrality," on abortion. Further, she adds, girls often need and "should get help, but Planned Parenthood and abortion -- what GSUSA is directing them to -- are not help. Abortion has serious risks for women, including breast cancer, infertility, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Does this sound like help?"
"If we had a say," Sydney continues, "we would make it so they were truly neutral about a girl's health and sexuality, abortion and birth control and political affiliations, as they promise to be. We would put the focus where it should be, on character-building and leadership activities."