Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sarah Palin is wrong -- Obama isn’t responsible for her son’s actions

PTSD is a serious condition, and the president has worked tirelessly to help vets

Sarah Palin, fresh off of her recent endorsement of Donald Trump for president, is facing some heat. Her son, Track Palin, was recently arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and obstructing the reporting of that assault, as well as possessing a weapon while intoxicated.

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Several commentators have suggested Sarah Palin, as mother to Track, is responsible in some ways for her son’s actions. I take a different view: I’m a firm believer that one’s family members, including those who are the direct children of politicians, shouldn’t reflect on the politician themselves. They may share a bloodline, but Track’s actions are not Sarah’s responsibility. He is a grown man, and his mistakes are his to deal with.

However, Palin’s own commentary on the incident doesn’t make a lick of sense, and her rationale for her son’s behavior passes the blame onto someone who wasn’t even involved at all: President Barack Obama.

Palin said that her son’s post-traumatic stress disorder was the true culprit, and suggested that the president’s failure to understand what those in the military are going through helps fuel incidents like what her son initiated.

“It starts from the top,” Palin said, “from our own president, that they [returning soldiers] have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through, do you know what we're trying to do to secure America?”

Of course, President Obama does know. In 2010 he simplified rules for how soldiers get assistance, making it easier for them to apply and receive help for PTSD.

In 2013 he “announced new research initiatives to combat post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injuries while also introducing a joint government-schools effort to help veterans succeed in college,” according to

And in 2015 he signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which requires third-party evaluations of VA programs that work with vets dealing with PTSD, and strengthens collaborations between the VA and other non-profit organizations tasked with preventing suicides.

Those are just a few of the actions the Obama administration have taken to help former members of the military deal with PTSD. Palin’s suggestion, that the president is ambiguous in his support for soldiers returning home, is a slap in the face to the current Commander in Chief, who has worked tirelessly to help members of the armed forces assimilate back into life at home, recognizing that some do need help coping with life after war.

It’s interesting that Palin, herself a conservative, is so fast to pass the blame onto the president. Her ideology stresses personal responsibility, but so long as it’s someone close to her, it seems that those rules don’t seem to apply.

Other vets are able to see through Palin’s assertions, and don’t think it’s right to blame the president. Paul Reickhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, “It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.”

He added, “PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”

I sincerely hope that Track Palin does get the help he needs. But his mother is wrong to push the blame on the president for his actions. Sarah Palin owes President Obama an apology.

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