THE BLOG
01/22/2016 09:37 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Let's Put Sarah Palin in Charge of Veteran's Affairs

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Like everyone else in the world, I like to dump on Sarah Palin. Let's face it, when a public figure appears to be as idiotic as she does, we can't help it. Ridiculous, incomprehensible ramblings come out of her every time she's within spitting distance of a microphone, and when we can understand her, she makes little sense.

She can't be a complete idiot by normal standards, though. She just can't. She was elected governor of Alaska, picked as the vice presidential running mate to a war hero; and Donald Trump, self-proclaimed smartest guy in the world, stood right next to her on stage while she endorsed him. Some vetting had to have occurred at some point by these people.

Sure, a former senior adviser to senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) blasted Sarah Palin, calling her "one of America's most astounding morons," but that just might be a case of buyer's remorse and sour grapes. There are millions of real morons in America who hang on her every word and see "Caribou Barbie" as some sort of second coming.

During a recent Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Palin went rogue and, in an off-script rant blamed President Obama for the arrest of her son only a couple of hours before the event. Her 26-year-old son, Track, was arrested in Wasilla and charged with domestic violence and possessing a firearm while intoxicated. Apparently, he punched his girlfriend and her son in the face. It's important to note that Track is a veteran, having served in Iraq. Palin, being the "Mama Grizzly" she's known to be, rose to her son's defense.

Let me get a little bit personal about this. I'm talking about not leaving our wounded warriors behind also. I guess it's kind of the elephant in the room because my own family going through what we're going through today, with my son, a combat vet, having served in the striker brigade fighting for you all America in the war zone. But my son, like so many others, they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country.

It's actually not a bad commentary on the soldiers who come back from battle broken, dejected, and mentally changed from war. She then took it a step further:

It starts from the top, the question though that comes from our own president, where they have to look at him and wonder, 'Do you know what we go through?' So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kinda feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness [sic] that our soldiers do return with.

That comment, particularly the dig at Obama, started a slug fest from the media. And rightfully so. But it's painfully clear and obvious that America not taking care of its veterans isn't Obama's fault alone. We have a long history of not looking after our vets -- it's an American tradition.

It's a tradition that goes back as far as the Civil War, if not longer (see the video below). In the last few decades though, we've allowed the behavior to not only continue, but to be ratcheted up a few notches from simple neglect to abuse and predatory behavior. It's as if we're saying, "Hell, they've been shot at, lived in the dirt, been taken prisoner, and tortured. They can take it."

In 2014, an effort to move forward with a $21 billion bill to enhance health care, education and job benefits for veterans, was blocked by the GOP; we've cut food stamps, on which at least 900,000 military families rely; blocked a bill that was specifically supposed to create jobs for veterans; cut funding for the VA; sent them into battle with inadequate gear; and barely care for their health issues.

Great way to treat the folks that have risked their lives for you to have the right and freedom to talk about and treat them that way, isn't it?

I hate to admit that Sarah Palin, however inarticulate, actually makes sense, but she does. And that leads me to my next point. Sarah Palin has a tremendous following. Many of her followers are working class families who have seen their fair share of military service. It's not the politicians and CEOs who are sending their kids to war. It's the rest of us -- and a lot of these kids are coming back damaged.

In response to Palin's rant, Paul Rieckhoff, who heads the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), said, "It's important to recognize that Track may need help like many veterans," noting that Palin is in the unique position of being able to use her notoriety to help him and other veterans suffering from PTSD.

This is a great opportunity for Sarah Palin to sound the alarm about PTSD. Now that she has endorsed Mr. Trump, I would encourage her to talk with him about it. Mr. Trump's campaign is pretty light on specifics about what he would do for veterans.

Good point.

I'm glad Palin spoke up. I'm glad that she's passionate about the lack of care our vets get when they come home. I'm glad that she used her spotlight to go off script and use her annoyingly shrill voice to raise awareness of a serious issue that's been plaguing this country for over a century. But let's see her use her God-given talents for something more than stumping for a megalomaniacal narcissist, who has yet to tell us specifically how he's going to change things.

Let's see Sarah Palin rally the troops to help the troops.


More Richard Zombeck at Liberals Unite and on the T & Z Talk Podcast.