ABOUT THAT BRACELET…. In one of the less illuminating moments of Friday night’s debate, John McCain and Barack Obama traded stories about bracelets. McCain talked about a mother in New Hampshire who gave him a bracelet with the name of her son, who was killed in combat outside of Baghdad. The point, apparently, was to keep the war going indefinitely, or his death would be “in vain.”
Moments later, Obama noted that he, too, received a bracelet from a mother in Wisconsin that honored her fallen son. She asked Obama to “please make sure” other mothers would not have to go through what she’s gone through.
By yesterday afternoon, there was a problem — far-right blogs were apoplectic because, they insisted, the mother in Wisconsin did not want her son’s name to be used in the campaign. Obama’s remarks, conservatives argued, was an insult to the family of a fallen hero. Jonah Goldberg demanded, “Take Off the Bracelet, Senator.”
The right’s outrage, as is often the case, was misguided.
The mother of a Wisconsin soldier who died in Iraq says she was “ecstatic” when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama mentioned during Friday’s debate the bracelet she gave him in honor of her son.
Tracy Jopek of Merrill told The Associated Press on Sunday she was honored that Obama remembered Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb.
Jopek criticized Internet reports suggesting Obama, D-Ill., exploited her son for political purposes.
“I don’t understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet,” she said.
As it turns out, Tracy Jopek had emailed the campaign through its website, asking that her son’s name not be used to make an anti-war argument. The campaign receives a lot of emails, of course, and it seems top aides were not aware of her message.
However, when Obama cited Sgt. Jopek to argue that all wars need to be fought for good reasons, and that no soldier ever dies in vain, Tracy Jopek felt proud.
“His response in the debate was exactly that, a response, after John McCain put it out there first,” she said. “I think it was an appropriate response — he was just saying there’s another side to the story, there’s two different viewpoints.”
The far-right freak-out, in other words, was mistaken. The far-right’s freak-outs usually are.