(UPDATE: Reader mycowardice directs my attention to a Washington Times article quoting Tracy Jopek as saying she’s “ecstatic” about the appearance of her son’s memorial bracelet on the debate last night. Well, that’s certainly a relief…if Sen. Obama actually had been wearing it despite her having directly asked him not to, I’d have thought he was some kind of sociopath. Now all I’m left to puzzle over is, what’s changed since the radio interview with Brian Jopek, whose account of Tracy having been “upset” by the use of the bracelet last spring is wholly incompatible with Mrs. Jopek’s professed “ecstasy?” [Thanks to mycowardice for the heads-up!] Now on to the original post…)
Well, here’s a “WTF??” moment to end all “WTF??” moments.
Friday night at the debate John McCain raised his wrist and revealed a memorial bracelet bearing the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a soldier killed in Iraq. The bracelet was given to McCain by Cpl. Stanley’s grieving mother, asking the senator to make sure her son did not die in vain.
Barack Obama quickly and gamely countered this display by drawing attention to a similar bracelet of his own (though he did have to remind himself of the name on it). His was given to him by the mother of Sgt. Ryan David Jopek (also killed in Iraq); Obama said Mrs. Jopek asked him to make sure no mother had to go through what she went through.
What Obama didn’t mention was that Sgt. Jopek’s parents, according to his father Staff Sgt. Brian Jopek in a radio interview on Wisconsin Public Radio last March, asked him months ago to stop wearing their son’s bracelet.
As told to WPR’s “Route 51” (audio link here, scroll down to March 20) by Brian Jopek, the bracelet had been intended as something between his wife Tracy and Sen. Obama alone, not as a campaign prop. Tracy Jopek simply wanted Obama to know her son’s name. When Obama started using that name at campaign rallies, she wrote to him asking him explicitly not to use the bracelet or her son’s name anymore. As evidenced by Obama’s use of both Friday night, he has ignored them entirely, instead escalating the bracelet’s use to the national primetime level. More at NewsBusters.
Ryan Jopek’s mother Tracy refused to give interviews on the subject of Obama and her son, as she is an Obama supporter and did not wish to undermine his campaign. As she suffered in silence, Brian Jopek, an Iraq veteran himself who has served in Mosul and at Guantánamo, had apparently had enough.
I’ve never run for public office, but if I were to do so, and a fallen soldier’s parents made a request of me regarding their child, I like to think I’d cut them a little slack. Or at least not pretend the conversation never happened.
Captain Ed weighs in.