Are we really having discussions about whether or not to participate in the 2008 Olympics? Are people actually sitting in coffee shops discussing whether the civil rights violations in China warrant a U.S. boycott of the opening ceremonies or even the games themselves?
Well, if you mean the virtual coffee shops of the blogosphere, yes. And it builds that false brand of patriotism which the current US administration has thrived on.
Extraordinary men and women, the absolute cream of our athletic crop, who have – for likely as long as they’ve walked – trained for the moment when they could participate in the Olympic Games, have now become the political pawns of our human rights discussions. And I’m not just talking about discussions with China; but discussions about China by a country that has no right to talk.
The day that the Olympics go to athletes under no flags is a day I look forward to. We’ll still have complaints about various countries when they host. I suspect when Russia hosts the upcoming Winter Olympics there’ll be talks of boycotts there, too. Of course, the important point is that we, as a country, have no right to talk.
Remember us? We invaded a sovereign nation and blew it to smithereens. And according to a BBC report last week we have more than 28,000 Iraqis detained without charges. An earlier report in the international journal The Guardian states that in 2006, “several detainees reportedly died … and some of their bodies bore injuries consistent with torture.”
And, unfortunately, we are guilty. And by we I mean myself, you, your sisters/brothers/mothers/fathers/aunts/uncles/etc. Our country has done this, period. We’re to blame. Sure, some of us are more to blame than others…. (sorry for the V reference)
So we’re invaders and we detain people, again from The Guardian, in a manner that is “arbitrary and indefinite.” On top of that, some die while in our custody and there is evidence that the detention itself may have caused their deaths.
That’s us. We pay for it. We’ve yet to shut anything of consequence down. We vote for politicians who do nothing to actually stop it. Look at the final three from the two major parties. There is no ‘everybody out now’ left running. We’re married to this, whether we like it or not.
Yeah, let’s just preach to other countries about human rights.
We are, and we will. The question is will we ever have the moral standing to do so (actually, the question is whether we ever really had the moral standing to do so).
I’ve got an idea: Why don’t these three sit out the November elections. Sure, they’ve worked as hard as any Olympic athlete to get where they are. That’s what makes their sacrifice more impressive. Besides, they’ve tiptoed along their political balance beams and haven’t done anything about U.S. human rights violations, so they – far more so than any unrelated marathon runner – should be denied access to their game.
It won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be beautiful if it did? Imagine how much more we’d love Barack if he said “We’re too disgusting, I don’t want to be President.” Think how much Hillary’s positive ratings would soar if she said “It’s my fault enough that I shouldn’t even think I could be President.” McCain could cement his legacy by saying “I don’t want to be commander-in-chief of an armed forces willing to do such things.”
And I’m not letting us ordinary people off the hook either.
You want to punish China for being jerks in Tibet? Why don’t you stop buying products made there?
We manufacture so little of value any more that we never would do so (sure, a few of us will be willing to, but not the masses).
Too much work? Too much money? Too big an undertaking to push back against our own government on human rights issues? No, it’s easier to deny a 14-year-old gymnast who doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “too big an undertaking” the opportunity to compete.
What the author is saying, in a nutshell, is that we’re chickenhawks on ths subject of China. I’m not sure if she’d use the term, but I think it’s accurate. It’s easier to cost someone else some disappointment than it is to stop consuming.
Stop worrying about Olympic competitions and start worrying about competing on an intellectual and moral playing field that we as a culture should already own.
Does anything else need to be said?
Originally posted here: http://rjones2818.blogspot.com…