activism, feminism, politics, race, Uncategorized, white privilege

One of the Best Microcosms of American Politics Ever

It’s hard to know where to begin here. (For those who don’t follow the link: Palin is blaming Obama for her son’s domestic abuse, by virtue of PTSD and the challenges of being a vet).

Should I say that blaming Obama for PTSD, instead of Bush or the Republican Party or the Democrats writ large or the military-industrial system, is a bit like blaming the janitor when an apartment complex gets trashed? Should I say that the sheer political hypocrisy ignores that it’s her party that wants to cut mental health benefits for veterans?

Should I note that this is from the supposed party of personal responsibility?

Should I note that it’s an example of a white person getting off the hook because we can blame someone else, in this case a black politician?

Should I say that, as much as I sympathize with what Palin is saying (with perfect hypocrisy and with no serious belief), saying that her son became violent as a result of military service is to insult millions of people with PTSD who will not hurt others?

Should I point to the fact that again domestic violence is the fault of everyone but the male abuser?

Should I say that this is another example of a leading politician blaming anyone but themselves for their family’s problems?

Perhaps the biggest thing I can say is this: Again, we see that conservatives in this country are committed to “Me and mine first” as an ideology. Palin could care less about PTSD and how it hollows you out until it was her family that was hurt. And she doesn’t want solutions: She wants to be able to be angry.

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4 thoughts on “One of the Best Microcosms of American Politics Ever

  1. Though “presidential disrespect” isn’t listed as a cause for diagnosis of PTSD, I’m not even convinced the kid has it. Palin’s male family members have been involved with the law over fights in public before. The boy might just as easily learned to punch first and ask questions later at home, before he ever became a soldier.

    • arekexcelsior says:

      Well, I don’t like to let partisanship make me dislike someone I haven’t met. But it is a very valid point: Sometimes, the people who go abroad are the people who want to hurt others or have a fighting instinct. I think that some portion of guys will always have that fighting instinct. But then those people go out and all too often see that real violence hurts them and hurts others, that people die even when you have every advantage, that fighting is chaotic and doesn’t solve very much.

      The problem we have is that PTSD is used as a political point. The most “rah-rah” people who insist that they are “pro-American” and “support the troops” are the ones who send those kids to die and don’t care much when they come back. The people who actually see what happens when violence occurs, who endure it the most, rarely are big fans of doing it more and seeing more of it. Armchair fighters should stop so easily sending other peoples’ kids to die.

  2. Ruh Roh …

    Well, as someone who has dealt with (is dealing with) PTSD myself I think it’s exceptionally stupid and insulting to blame PTSD for violence behaviour. I mean, we’ll have to be fair and concede that it can’t be ruled out as a contributing factor of course.
    To make any statements in that regard I’m not familiar enough with the kid and his Track record (thihihihi). PTSD being responsible for violent outbursts? It’s possible, though.

    Being a vet? Same thing. The majority of veterans (same as with people suffering from PTSD) don’t turn violent. Quite the contrary actually, from what I’ve observed.

    But blaming the current president for a war that was essentially started before said president’s presidency? Blaming the president for the (many possible) psychological effects war has on soldiers that have been well-known for decades? Blaming the president for an entire nation’s (at least seeming) disdain for veterans and disregard for their troubles and needs? Blaming the president for a person’s PTSD and … wait!

    If Kid Palin has PTSD … while Mom Palin apparently knew … did anyone mention the treatment he received? The help, the therapy? Anything? Who else, in the LOOONG line of people coming before the president, would be to blame? Did she ever mention anybody else? Did Mom Palin ever take a good hard look in the mirror? Hmm, curious …

    Anyhoo …

    War is nasty. It’s ugly, dirty and a whole lot of other things and even under the best of circumstances (such as they may be) during and afterwards, it never lets people leave unchanged, unscarred. You never come back the same.

    So how about blaming the waging of war?

    The machinations, politics and politicians who decide to send people into a war?

    The sending people out to fight underfunded, understaffed, underequipped (ill-equipped) while they – after all that – can’t even be sure to be allowed to go home when their time is up instead of being held in service?

    Just in Decembre last year, while I was on tour, I spoke to a few soldiers and frankly it was harrowingly sickening how many still feel like John R. at the beginning of the movie when they come home.

    How about asking military recruitment and evaluation if maybe they’re accepting people lacking psychological stability? How about posing the fiendishly illusive question if maybe the military should take care of its solders properly?

    The point’s moot of course since politics, especially during election periods usually leave behind the realm of sensible arguments. Just taking a single look at Trump makes me shake my head in disbelief. And I’m European.

    We see the same things everywhere, though. I’m not sure how much coverage (if any) the attacks on women on New Year’s Eve in Germany have received in the US but we can observe the same thing here. Political parties and politicians are throwing themselves into over laughable debate full of increasingly harebrained arguments over and over. And it’s federal state election time over here as well.

    It’s a typical part of political strategy to attack and blame one’s opponent. Frankly I’m just surprised President Obama isn’t blamed more and even more outlandishly.

    Of course in the US I suppose the aspect of “blaming the black guy” is a factor as well but after the Oscars I don’t think while people should complain too much. 🙂

    (Where’s your comment on that, Fred, by the way?)

    • arekexcelsior says:

      It is indeed 100%, utterly, completely stupid. I’d say the correlation goes the OTHER way: PTSD sufferers of all kinds are probably less likely to be violent than the general population.

      People like this in the person’s life are the absolute worst, because they give the person a host of excuses instead of just the support, love and drive to actually get better. This kid doesn’t need someone making political points off of him. He needs help, and consequences if he has indeed done something illegal. Palin is not being a good mother.

      The Oscars are a shame this year. And what strikes me, and I suppose I better actually write this out, is this: There are lots of reasons why the stories of non-white people, non-males, etc. don’t get told. Many of those reasons are understandable and not malicious. Someone like Steve Jobs comes into the public spotlight, a male who looked white even if he wasn’t really from an ethno-racial perspective (but basically was in terms of his upbringing), and we want to tell stories about him. That creates a cyclical effect, of course: We tell stories about white males and that gives white males more cultural capital.

      But the point is that it is just too easy to always tell the story of the white male. It’s too easy for filmmakers to tell the story that they know will be easiest for their audience to hear. Honest artists, especially those committed to being ethical and socially responsible, should go beyond what is easy and automatic and try to tell new stories.

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