Saturday, April 5, 2008

What'd the Olympics ever do to you?

I am going to springboard off of my fellow bloggers' last post. When the protests in Tibet first broke the news, I immediately blogged about how this was the type of news we had to look forward to as more people focused on China for the Olympics. Because as much as China would like to sweep everything untidy under the carpet and give the appearance of the perfect host, the world knows that their Communist government is neither benevolent nor merciful to those who voice an opinion contrary to their own. The violence in Tibet is merely a symptom. But I never argued that the Olympics shouldn't be happening there at all. On the contrary, if the media attention of the Olympic games also sheds some more light on the problems that China is so eager to ignore, than what better purpose could there be for the Olympic games? The Olympics are not at fault for the egregious human rights violations perpetuated by the Chinese government. Nor are they responsible for our nations' lack of actions in the effort to right these wrongs. No, the Olympics have never been anything more than a symbol of excellence and hope. And if any country is in need of that symbol, I would argue that China is. What would a boycott of that symbol show the world? That we are afraid to interfere in China? If only we could solve the world's problems with the Olympics! Imagine a fair competition between nations occurring on a sports field without the casualties and violence of the real world. There is little chance of that becoming reality. But what a strong symbolic message it would be for American athletes to attend the Beijing games, compete fairly, and win on China's soil. Better still would be if there were significant policy and diplomatic efforts on the part of our government to stand against China's rights violations afterwards. Perhaps that is too much to hope for. But in the meantime, why jeopardize the one symbolic event of hope and unity?

At the end of the day, I am a firm believer in people expressing their own thoughts and making up their own minds, and making those thoughts available to their democratically elected government. In that spirit, I encourage people to go to and tell the US government your thoughts on the issue.
Click here if you think the US should boycott the games
Click here if you do NOT think the US should boycott the games

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