Reason # 36: The Bracelets

One of my favorite moments of the first presidential debate was when McCain drew attention to the bracelet he wears in honor of a war victim…only to be followed by Obama’s note that he, in fact, also wore a bracelet.

I had to chuckle. I wondered if one of them would lay claims to a nose ring, anklet, belly piercing or tattoo.

For the record, neither did.

Of course, both men wear these bracelets in recognition of the tragedies of war that are felt by families who have lost loved ones and who thus feel the impact of war in a very real and personal way that is unimaginable to many of us. McCain can particularly identify with this. I don’t think anyone in the country really doubts he feels true empathy towards war victims (or that Obama does as well), be it those who have lost their lives or those who have temporarily lost their freedom and suffered as he did.

However, these bracelets have much broader significance to me, and I’m imagining they do to many of you as well. These bracelets are not only public acts of remembrance and indications of future representation on Pennsylvania Avenue. They are also indications of compassion, which good old Wiki(pedia) defines as: “…a profound human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.”

And here, you fellow hockey moms and others, is where these two men differ.

Greatly.

In choosing who I would want to wear a bracelet bearing my name, that is, who I would most trust to alleviate the suffering of others in this world, I’d choose Obama. Sure, McCain would cover me in terms of defense and veteran spending (in some arenas). But, I have a sneaking suspicion–no, I have an outright belief, ladies–that Obama will cover my butt in many other, important ways.

He’ll think about how I will get to the doctor, and how I’ll pay for it.

He’ll think about whether the pay I receive for a days work – as a woman – is commensurate with the pay I would receive as a man.

He’ll think about how I’m going to educate my kids and about how I’m going to clean up the environmental messes of the world.

And he’ll even think about what it is like to not be me – he’ll think about how the rest of the world perceives and relates to Americans (yup, another mess).

So, ladies, the next time you reach for the armoire and put on your jewels (uh, I guess for us hockey moms it might often be jewelry right?), think about the names and causes and beliefs you would put on a bracelet if you had to. And think about who you want to be wearing your bracelet.

–Colleen, former figure skater and hockey player, carpool chauffeur extraordinaire, Boulder, Colorado

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