By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency
The police report paints a confusing and chaotic picture.
Apparently, the young man and his girlfriend got into an argument over her ex-boyfriend. At some point, things became physical. When police arrived, they say they found the young man outside his parent’s home, where he lives. He was belligerent, evasive and stank of alcohol. He had a bruised eye, which he attributed to his girlfriend throwing an elbow.
According to the police report, the girlfriend was found upstairs in the house, hiding under a bed, crying. She also had an eye injury from where she said her boyfriend had punched her with a closed fist. She also said he kicked her and threatened to kill himself with an AR-15 rifle. “Do you think I won’t do it?” he cried. The young man was arrested.
And it was all Barack Obama’s fault.
That, at least, is what 26-year-old Track Palin’s mother, Sarah, suggested to the audience at a Donald Trump rally in Tulsa last week, the day after Track, a combat veteran, was taken into custody.
“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 their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military have given so sacrificially to this country, and that starts at the top.
“It is,” she continued, “a shame that our military personnel even have to question, have to wonder if they’re respected anymore. It starts from the top…comes from our own president where they 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 and to secure the freedoms that have been bequeathed us?'”
Vote Trump, she said, so that, “America’s finest will have that commander in chief who will respect them and honor them.”
Someone asked on Twitter whether this meant President Obama is also responsible for daughter Bristol’s two unwed pregnancies. Probably shouldn’t give Sarah any ideas.
To be fair: The scandal over the failure of Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs to provide timely medical care for American service personnel is a disgrace; any flak the administration takes for it is richly deserved. That said, it takes a leap worthy of Jesse Owens to suggest this is why Track Palin got arrested.
His mother’s clumsy attempt to shift blame for what he allegedly did speaks volumes about the devolution of conservatism in the last two decades. Like them or not, agree with them or don’t, conservatives used to espouse clear and consistent values, one of which was an impatience with the so-called culture of victimization. But in recent years, who has cried “victim” more than they? To hear them tell it, they are a people perennially under siege from a “War on Christmas,” a “War on Whites,” a “War on Males,” political correctness, same-sex marriage and, of course, that old standby, liberal media bias.
Now here is one of conservatism’s biggest stars claiming her son is a victim after he allegedly beat up his girlfriend in a drunken rage. What used to be a consistent principle has shrunk into the kind of situational morality conservatives once abhorred, a “say anything-ism” in which the only consistent ideal is that you never pass up any opportunity to damage the president.
Palin’s willingness to use her own son in that cause is repellent. One reads little actual concern for him — or his girlfriend — in her remarks. And that is sad. What kind of mother looks at her son’s domestic-violence arrest and thinks, political opportunity?
Track Palin is obviously a troubled young man. One hopes he gets the help he needs.
His mom could use some, too.
(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.)
Photo: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks after endorsing U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for President at a rally at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich