First off, let me say that moms with children deployed can wear pretty much whatever they want with their kids' names on it, and it's just fine by me. If Sarah Palin wants to wear a Track Palin sandwich board, she can have at it, and I'll tell her it looks great on her.
As it is, Sarah Palin is being a bit more traditional, wearing a metal, engraved bracelet with her son's name on it, and boy, is the Left angry about it. No, really.This week, the bracelet got a bit of attention thanks to the other Sarah Palin non-scandal of the week. When the former governor of Alaska gave a speech at the Tea Party convention Saturday, she did it with notes scribbled on her palm, giving the supporters of President TelePrompter apoplexy and causing them to produce copious close-ups of Sarah Palin's left hand.
It was in one of those close-ups that a Yale student, writing in the Yale Daily News, stumbled on Palin's alleged big blunder. An Afghanistan and Iraq vet himself, the writer pegged Palin's bracelet as a black, memorial bracelet, reserved for soldiers killed in action:
What has me troubled is a black bracelet firmly clasped around her left wrist.
I hadn’t noticed it until I watched MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Tuesday, but it is a memorial bracelet; something familiar to veterans who have lost friends and family in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wear one commemorating a friend of mine who died in Baghdad in October of 2006, and I know many other veterans — and some still in the armed forces — who wear these bracelets as a reminder of the sacrifices their friends made on behalf of the units in which they served and the country they swore to protect.
The liberal blogosphere predictably jumped all over the allegation, working themselves into the incredibly high dudgeon that can only be achieved with a potent combination of kind bud and insufferable college-dorm moral superiority.
The problem is, it looks like it's not a black bracelet at all. The owner of HeroBracelets.org wrote a post on his site bragging about Sarah Palin wearing the "Deployment Bracelet" he gave her, which is bronze, not black. Looking at the close-up of Palin's hand from the Tea Party convention, it seems entirely plausible that her bracelet is indeed a dark bronze or copper, which was mistaken for black in the light.
You can also see in other pictures of her, including her Newsweek cover, that the bracelet she's wearing looks bronze, not black.
A commenter who says he is Chris Greta, founder of HeroBracelets.org, left a comment similar to the HeroBracelets.org blog post on Robinson's column at Yale Daily News, detailing how he gave a "Deployment Bracelet" to both Palin and Joe Biden when he heard their children were deploying:
We sent her those bracelets during the last election. When we learned that her son, Track and Senator Biden's son were both being deployed overseas, we sent them both Deployed HeroBracelets with their son's names...
So she isn't out of line for wearing the Deployed HeroBracelet. There are ten's of thousands of families around the country wearing them right now. On the HeroBracelets web site, we've got hundreds of letters from families, many vowing to not take the bracelet off till their loved one comes home.
The blog, Legal Insurrection also noted that some vendors do offer black deployment bracelets, which this comment section at GoArmyParents.com shows the parents of the deployed recommending to one another.
Crooks & Liars, to its credit, has updated its anti-Palin rant in light of new information, with this hilarious Emily Litella moment:
Crooks & Liars: "As a mother, I am flabbergasted by the symbolism of this on many levels. I understand wanting to keep something close to me to remind me of my son as he risks his life on the battlefield--a button with his picture, maybe one with the crest of his specific branch of the military or even the ubiquitous yellow ribbon. Remember how Jim Webb wore his active duty son's combat boots while campaigning? But to wear a bracelet that someone had to order that would clearly indicate it's a memorial bracelet for your child that's alive? Horrifying."
UPDATE: Looks like the original writer and I should have fact checked more closely.
A correction or retraction has yet to appear on Robinson's piece, nor have the following three outlets added an update:
Daily Kos: "This blatant disregard for the norms of military families, and one of the most recognizable symbols of grief, while completely unsurprising, needs to be highlighted."
Huffington Post also gets in on the act.
Democratic Underground: "She is deranged."
It is times like this that I find the drive to tear down Sarah Palin so astonishing. The palm-writing story was dumb enough, but if you're going to take Palin on, there is perhaps no ground less advantageous than the service of her son and her genuine love for him. Yet many on the Left are truly convinced, to an embarrassing degree, that she's wearing a black memorial bracelet for her living son in a warzone out of some sort of ignorant, malicious opportunism. Which is supposed to gain her...what exactly?
Maybe she was just rarin' for yet another opportunity to reveal her political adversaries' overwrought, often pathetic obsession with her? Mission accomplished, then.