Oh Sarah


Oh Sarah. I am genuinely sorry that your son, like so many others, was damaged by the war that George W started. I don’t pretend to know much about the circumstances surrounding his recent arrest, but I do believe that it is possible that his recent violent outbursts are related to the trauma that he suffered. Throughout human history, soldiers and civilians alike have suffered from the violence of war. Patrick Stewart created a wonderful video about the traumas that his father suffered in WW II, and the subsequent domestic violence in his family.

But you see Sarah, here is the thing. Your party is all about personal responsibility. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and whatnot. I know it is kind of easy to embrace that worldview when you see others making poor life decisions. But it gets a little harder when you or your loved ones are the ones screwing up. We know your son had a history of violence before the war. Teenaged property damage stuff. The kinds of offences that black kids go to jail for. Or worse. But these transgressions had no lasting effect on your son’s life. And then he went off to war. And came home. And got arrested for domestic violence. Maybe the war was the cause. Maybe the war was a contributing factor. Or maybe your son just has a propensity for violence, due to genetics or environment or whatever factors contribute to this sort of behavior. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and accept the premise that the war was at least a contributing factor.

Now, let’s move on and discuss the giant leap in logic that you take next. You see, while I am willing to concede that maybe the war exacerbated any pre-existing tendencies he had towards violence, and his inability to deal with frustration, I am among the many Americans who are more than a little astonished that you found a way to say “It’s Obama’s fault.” We know that your party likes to blame Obama for everything, from mass shootings, to the national debt which he inherited, to the tornadoes in the mid-west. And so I guess it has sort of become a reflex to blame Obama. And that must feel much more comfortable to you than blaming your son. Or questioning your childrearing skills. Or acknowledging that George W started the war that left your son traumatized.

If I understand your argument, you are saying that your son is afraid that President Obama does not recognize his sacrifices sufficiently. Ok. I am not even going to address your belief that your son looks to the president that you hate for approval. But it might be so.

Talking heads in the media have tried hard to spin your words into something that has to do with policies that might be remotely related to the current administration. Perhaps an underfunded VA is to blame. Well, budget cuts are kind of your party’s thing. So I am not going to accept any arguments from any republicans that some social service agency is underfunded, and that is Obama’s fault. Lots of social service agencies are underfunded. Programs that work with the homeless, with senior citizens, with kids from low income families. Agencies, both public and private, that serve folks who may be suffering from different kinds of trauma. I personally believe that supporting agencies that do this kind of important work should be a national priority. You haven’t in the past. Perhaps you are turning over a new leaf? Perhaps you will work to influence members of your party to recognize how society’s failure to support our citizens when they are in need, ultimately damages society.

This would be a drastic departure from your traditional “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. And as far as I’m concerned, it would be a welcomed change.