I’ve Got a Bracelet, Too

Matthew Sheffield, Newsbusters.

In recent memory, every presidential debate eventually distills down into a few catchphrases. Al Gore became known for his sighs and love of lockboxes. John Kerry actually served in Vietnam. Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy.

I've Got A Bracelet, TooBarack Obama has a bracelet, too.

That inartful comeback will likely filter out through the political ether in the days ahead. What might not filter through our partisan press is that shortly after pointing out that, like John McCain, he sports a bracelet given to him by a military family, Barack Obama had to stop and look down find out the name of the soldier he’s honoring.

That soldier is Ryan David Jopek. Barack Obama doesn’t appear to have known that fact.

Here’s his complete line:

“Jim, let me just make a point. I’ve got a bracelet too. From, Sergeant, uh, uh, from the mother of, uh, Sergeant, Ryan David Jopek.”

Had a Republican, say Sarah Palin, made this gaffe, who wants to bet that we wouldn’t hear this clip repeated endlessly during the post-debate spin shows and in the days ahead? How much would the sincerity of our hypothetical Republican politician be called into question.

I didn’t hear it discussed once in the post-debate coverage. Did you?

Let’s be fair, here. Can you imagine how the mother of Sergeant Jopek would have felt, had Obama simply let this go — right while the bracelet was dangling on his own wrist? He had to say something. I hope that’s what motivated him, and I think he does have some human decency, and that that is indeed the case.

Now having said that, this kind of thing strikes me as extraordinarily sad. Because the people who are most enthused about supporting Barack Obama, voting for him, defending him — they don’t understand there’s a problem here. They have their own special definition of caring about someone.

They live in a special world in which nobody actually labors toward getting something done, except in the realm of “CALWWNTY” (Come A Long Way, We’re Not There Yet). Outside of the CALWWNTY vicious cycle of civil-rights-movements “we’re still working on that,” anything that requires effort is a manifestation of someone not caring about someone else. It’s the way they were raised. If you’re working on something, someone else should jump in, do it all for you, and present you with the results, immediately, or else you’re a victim of someone else’s lack of caring. Wherever there’s caring, there has to be a quick fix. Real work, therefore, exists only where people don’t care about each other…unless everyone is working on it, which is why CALWWNTY gets a pass. As does building a post-modern Star Trek utopian universe.

In that utopia they’re trying to build, people simply — exist. Mill about. Order free chocolate treats from food replicators whenever they want. They don’t really labor toward anything…not unless all of them are similarly engaged.

And so, to some of us, Obama having to re-check the name on his bracelet was just natural. The Sergeant had a funny name, after all! To the rest of us, this completely invalidates the point he was trying to make…and it’s not because we had preconceived desires to see his point invalidated. It’s because he really, truly, does not “care” in the way we define caring. He wants to see people alive and healthy and whole, but wants to see them abandon the effort on which they’ve spent their blood, sweat and tears. Once that’s done, in his world, everything will be all okay, because people will be intact, feelin’ good, unscathed, and covered by some fabulous universal medical care. And not really doing much of anything.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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