Sasha and Malia Obama Have Nothing in Common With Military Children

Sasha and Malia Obama Have Nothing in Common With Military Children

obama family

For military spouses, one of the most well-known websites intended to be a place for support is SpouseBuzz. An offshoot of, SpouseBuzz covers a variety of military-related topics. But one of their latest offerings was a swing, and a huge miss. Army wife Rebekah Sanderlin wrote a column explaining how Sasha and Malia Obama are just like military kids everywhere.

She had a list of nine trite reasons:

9. Their dad (and mom!) frequently have to travel for work.
8. Both of their parents are under a lot of stress.
7. They probably don’t know how to answer when people ask them where they’re from.
6. Their dad does a dangerous job.
5. They had to beg to get a dog.
4. Many of those countries on the map have personal significance for them, because their parents have been there.
3. It doesn’t surprise them to see people in uniform.
2. They live in government housing.
1. They are spoiled with heroism.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction was less than supportive. Readers demanded a retraction. The comment section was filled with angry replies — so much so that the editors at SpouseBuzz closed the post to new comments. And really, it’s not all that surprising. Because, let’s be honest: Sasha and Malia Obama have absolutely nothing in common with military kids. Most of the items on this list are not just ridiculous, but are also extremely insulting to military families.

Take the idea that the Obamas travel a lot and are under a lot of stress. Yes, it must be really, really dangerous when Obama goes to all of those pristine golf courses in Hawaii and the Hamptons. And it must be such a hardship for the Obama girls to go on expensive, taxpayer-funded vacations to dreary, awful places like Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, Paris, Africa, Ireland, and China. That’s totally just like military kids, who get to travel to places like Fort Hood in Texas, or the stunning Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Hey, if military kids are really lucky, maybe they can get sent to live in the middle of nowhere, at a base like 29 Palms in California!

And sure, Obama’s job is difficult, but it hardly compares to military children who go months and months and months without seeing their military parent. And, on top of not seeing their parents for months on end, unlike the Obama girls who maybe go a few days without seeing one or both of their parents, military children are in constant fear that their parent might not come home at all. And that also makes the idea that their dad does a “dangerous” job comparable to that of a service member laughable. It isn’t exactly comparable to the idea of troops who know that just driving down an Afghan street could mean death or disfigurement, and it’s insulting to compare the two — especially considering that Obama never served in the military, and has a 24/7 cadre of Secret Service agents dedicated to keeping him safe. Military children have to live with the constant absence of their service member parent. If they’re lucky, their parent will come home physically whole, but then there’s the chance that their parent will struggle with PTSD — or worse, commit suicide. Remember, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. How many American presidents have ever killed themselves or suffered PTSD from the “stresses” of being president? Uh, zero.

Also astoundingly tone-deaf? Saying that the Obama girls lifestyle is comparable to that of military families. Sasha and Malia live in “government housing”? They live in the White House. They have an on-call chef, a maid service to wait on them hand and foot. There are cleaning and laundry services so that the Obama girls don’t have to ever lift a finger for themselves — no chores for the First Children. The White House has its very own movie screening room, a putting green, swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, even a bowling alley. If they want to go anywhere, they get chauffeured around in armored limousines. Sasha and Malia Obama also go to an exclusive private school, Sidwell Friends, where tuition costs upwards of $20,000 a year, per child. Base housing is usually small, old and, in many cases, ridden with black mold and asbestos. Military children are stuck with either base schools or whatever public school will take them out in town. And saying that the Obama girls had to “beg” to get a dog is laughable. They wanted a dog, so they got one. Owning pets can be tricky for military families, considering that if they ever have to move outside of CONUS, there is a very good chance that they can’t take their pet with them. And then you add in the reality that bases have breed bans in place, and once again, you see that it is completely and utterly nonsensical to compare the Obama children to what military children have to endure. And let’s not forget — Barack Obama earns $400,000 a year; most military families get by at around $35,000.

It is appalling that a website dedicated to supporting military spouses and families would publish such condescending, patronizing, insulting drivel. What makes it even more tone-deaf is that April is the Month of the Military Child. During a month set aside to honor military children, a milblogger wants to make this kind of despicable comparison, and then pretend that she had no idea it would be offensive? Really?? Regardless of a person’s political affiliations, saying that the children of a sitting president have anything whatsoever in common with children whose parents deploy to war zones is ludicrous. Sasha and Malia Obama lead a charmed, privileged life. And they shouldn’t have to apologize for it — no presidential family should. They certainly didn’t invite these ludicrous comparisons, either. It was a military support website that did that, and that’s precisely what has so many military families outraged. Military families go through immense amounts of stress, hardship, and sacrifice. The Obama family lives a pampered life of luxury. It’s unfathomable that some brain-dead SpouseBuzz writer would ever find it appropriate to compare the two — and even worse, that an editor would read it and think it was good to publish.

To Rebekah Sanderlin and the editors of SpouseBuzz: you owe military families an apology.

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  • Brat says:

    Amen! This is so beyond insulting, and so pisses me off – as you say – especially so in the Month of the Military Child – I’ll refrain from anything else..

  • Jodi says:

    Yeah, don’t all military kids ride in luxurious private jets, go to private schools with scrumptious lunches, and take taxpayer-funded vacations to exotic locales? Sure they do…

    • GWB says:

      Oh sure! Military kids can ride on C141s and C17s. Often they attend exclusive schools – right in their own homes! And, wouldn’t you call living for 2 years on Guam a vacation in an exotic locale?! Sheesh!

      (The last one is actually almost true. Something about BBQs on the beach for Christmas dinner. 🙂 )

  • Chris in N.Va. says:

    Wife and I both vets, her ex was career military, too, both our fathers were WWII vets.

    How utterly disgusting and self-centered —- and wholly in character (or some remote semblance thereof) with this narcissistic First Aberrational Family.

    The First Munckins don’t know how to respond at to where they’re from? ExcUUUUUUse me!!?? How saying they live at the White House or they’re originally from Illinois or wherever the heck they were born. You know, like the rest of common peasants over which they imperially rule? Sheesh….

    As for “spoiled with heroism”, well, only if they are marginally aware of the daily heroism required of all the Secret Service personnel who have sworn to sacrifice their lives or the rest of the military and other law enforcement who would also sacrifice themselves as well, if the need arose, to protect their collective pampered backsides.

  • RE Ramcharan says:

    If I had a teen age daughter, I would definitely be having the SS guards teach her how to drive. Definitely.

  • GWB says:

    I would issue my own take-down of those point-by-point, but I would end up writing a comment almost as long as Cassy’s post.

    Suffice to say that I’m betting the author was not an Army or Marine wife, nor likely a Navy wife of a shipboard sailor. There *are* military kids whose parents don’t disappear for 6-9 months at a time, or work in a position where they might be shot or blown-up by terrorists, or even live in gov’t housing. If you’re using them as your standard for that list above, however, you’re really missing the point.

    • GWB says:

      Oops, I see you identify her as an Army wife. This must be a soldier who has never deployed to The War.

      • GWB says:

        And someone corrects me below, to say that “[h]er husband has MANY COMBAT stripes.” Huh. Now I wonder at the extreme cognitive dissonance required for those things to coexist (her husbands combat experience and her idiotic portrayal of the 0bamas’ life).

  • Penny says:

    This woman should be drummed off of that blog……what disgusting horse manure!! Comparing military families with the Imperial Obumblebutts!! I’ll bet she got nasty, and well deserved, comments….but her message will live on in infamy on the Internet!!

  • Bucklet says:

    It is a ridiculous comparison and beyond disgusting. She must be trying to get her husband or herself a job in DC.

  • mama kass says:

    Rebekah is a military spouse of many years. She was comparing that as kids, it’s hard In regards to the relationship between child, parent, and what you are allowed to talk about. Her husband has MANY COMBAT stripes. Much more than the average joe.

    • GWB says:

      Really? What are 0bama’s kids not allowed to talk about? Is there some part of his job from which they must be protected? They shouldn’t know he signed an EO to break the law? Or had his executive agencies ignore the law to enact some grand scheme? Just what traumatizing events in their father’s life are they not going to be able to hear about?!?

      Sorry, but that defense of her blather is pathetic. You’re going to have to dig much deeper than that to justify her insult.

    • usafbrat64 says:

      I am an USAF brat and I am the mother of two USAF brats. Both fathers have spent way too much time away, in way too many scary places. And after all these many years, I find what she said insulting. And, asking my daughters (19 & 18), they also were insulted. There is nothing that I or my USAF brats have in common with those two spoiled brats.

  • Deborah May says:

    My oldest lost her father at age 6 (she turned 7 two days after they changed his status from MIA to KIA) when he was killed in action in Iraq.

    My middle child turned 2 a week after his father’s funeral.

    My youngest was born three weeks after my husband’s funeral.

    That list IS insulting. No offense to Obama’s daughters, but they are NOT living the same life as a military child!

  • Marine Wife says:

    What’s almost as bad is the so-called apology they issued. It was a snide, “Sorry you were offended but that wasn’t our intent.” So, basically, not an apology.

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