Peace & Harmony at the Olympics
Some things call for an old fashioned fisking. This is one of those things. Madison's own Capital Times has published perhaps one of the most obnoxious editorials I've ever read. Where do I begin? In this case, at the beginning:
No one who was paying attention to the opening of the 20th Winter Olympics could have missed the none-too-subtle message that was sent with regard to the Bush administration's foreign policy.
While first lady Laura Bush sat in the stands giggling with Cherie Blair, the wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair the Olympic flag was carried into Stadio Olympico on Friday evening by actress Susan Sarandon, one of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq. Joining Sarandon to lift the corners of the flag were a group of prominent women that included Chilean writer and activist Isabel Allende, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai and Cambodian human rights activist Somaly Mam.
Speaking of "none-too-subtle messages", what's with the insulting language used to describe Laura Bush here? She's "giggling"? I love it when liberals, who are so concerned about the rights of women, use demeaning words to minimize women they disagree with. So Laura Bush "giggles" and Condi Rice "simpers". Once again, negative stereotypes are used against women and minorities who dare to have conservative opinions. The "right to choose" never extends to the right to choose to be conservative. Drat.
The neoconservatives who guide public policy in the United States, and their apologists in the media, may have been offended by the showcasing of Sarandon and other women who have challenged this president's misrule of the United States and misguided approach to the world. But American citizens need not be.
The global rejection of the Bush administration's military misadventures abroad, its opposition to environmental protection initiatives, its corporations-first approach to global trade, and its disdain for democracy in the United States and abroad is not a rejection of America or Americans. It is a rejection of a president who has insulted American values and ideals as well as the broader spirit of international cooperation that defines the Olympic tradition.
Funny, I haven't read any official American outrage about the inclusion of Susan Sarandon from our neoconservative overlords. Have you? Didn't think so. In any case, if the Olympic Opening Ceremonies were meant as a criticism of United States policy, then American citizens certainly should be upset and insulted. Despite what this nameless editorialist thinks, American citizens, not some shadowy group of neocons determine American policy. Americans approved our actions in Iraq (and elsewhere) with their votes in 2002 and 2004. And speaking of Iraq, the spirit of international cooperation that supposedely defines the Olympic tradition is alive and well in Iraq where the Olympics' host nation, Italy, provides 2,600 troops to support the establishment of a democratic country.
To me, the message, if there was one, of the Opening Ceremony wasn't anything specific against the United States, but rather a mundane generic message in favor of peace.
As Marco Balich, the creative director for Friday night's opening program for the Olympics, explained, "We wanted to make a strong statement of peace tonight."
And so they did, with their choice of flagbearers, and with the surprise appearance of Yoko Ono. The artist and widow of John Lennon opened the Winter Olympics with a soft-spoken, yet stirring plea for peace. "Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world," Ono told the crowd of about 35,000. "Just start thinking peace, and the message will spread quicker than you think."
If it only it were that easy, Yoko. And hey, I didn't see you spouting off about peace when you were breaking up The Beatles! Anyway, peace is all well and good, but this insipid message makes me wonder if these people think that anything is worth fighting for? Peace is no virtue when you're faced with hateful, irrational enemies that will do anything to destroy your way of life. Yoko Ono is welcome to visualize world peace, but I'm going to go ahead and visualize a free and prosperous world that is willing to fight to stay that way. Sometimes I wonder if peace activists even understand their own message. I don't think this editorialist does.
Ono was joined by British singer Peter Gabriel, who sang an inspired version of Lennon's "Imagine." The lyrics of that remarkable song speak to the spirit of the Olympics "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one; I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will live as one" but they also speak for the great mass of Americans who want very much to be part of the world community.
Given the events of the world today, why would someone think this message is directed at America? Perhaps the more timely lyric is "imagine no religion". It's not American imperialism that is putting the peaceful people of the world in peril. It's misguided religious fervor as epitomized by the Islamofascists that would cut off the heads of cartoonists exercising their freedom of speech. I like Peter Gabriel, and I'm sure he's just another squawking liberal singer, but I'd like to think that at least he's smart enough to get that.
Of course, I'm no true patriot. If I were a true patriot, according to this editorial, I'd be simultaneously hanging my head in shame and hanging up my "Impeach Bush Now!" sign.
The United States is a good country badly led. Those who recognize that fact, and who act to change the circumstance, are the truest patriots. And just as we look forward to cheering for our Olympians in the days to come, so we look forward to the day when this country will have leaders who recognize that America can and must be an honest player in world affairs.
How far off is that day? Let us hope that, when Olympians meet next, in Beijing in the summer of 2008, this country will be well on its way to rejoining a world community in which it really is possible to "Imagine all the people, living life in peace."
The "truest" patriots are those who think the country is badly led. The "true" patriots are those who dissent. Huh? Why is dissent the default patriotic response? That notion is such a relic of the 1960s. The assumption is that your country is wrong and only the brave, impassioned dissenters can right the ship. Sometimes the dissenters are wrong. Sometimes, believe it or not, your country is doing the right thing. Of course, that's just my opinion. I'd like to think that "true" patriots can exist on both sides of an issue.
To me, the Olympic ideals are not all about peace and harmony. They're about striving to be the best in the world. The motto of the Olympics is "swifter, higher, stronger". You can sit there and urge us all to think about peace or you can get off your rear end and do something to really make the world a better place.
Posted by at February 13, 2006 12:27 PM
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|# February 13th, 2006 1:22 PM JohnTant|
|I seem to recall lots of indignation from the Left during the Kerry campaign over how horrible it is to question someone's patriotism. Remember TerAYsa's blathering on the subject?
That's what makes the line in the above editorial all the more interesting:
The United States is a good country badly led. Those who recognize that fact, and who act to change the circumstance, are the truest patriots.
Apparently if you don't believe the assertion as fact in the qualifier, you're not as "true" a patriot as someone who does. Seems to me the questioning is now A-OK as long as it goes from Left to Right.
|# February 13th, 2006 8:51 PM Laura|
|I love the line, "an old fashioned fisking." I know internet years are like dog years, but, come on! That's FUNNY. ;-)
The neoconservatives who guide public policy ... may have been offended ... But American citizens need not be.
To many on the left, neocons are not only not citizens, they may not be human. Which is only going to make the left's foaming at the mouth rage next election that much more amusing. And I'm not even a neocon.
|# February 18th, 2006 5:08 AM mbrlr|
|My, a bit touchy about this, aren't you?
The problems during the campaign and with Kerry had to do with the fact that most of the allegations were bald-faced lies and the veterans group that fronted the attack was set up and funded by the right. We are a good country, but it's hard to imagine that leading our country into a war based on false premises (a nice word for "lies") isn't cause for alarm.
The "truest patriots" bit was a response to those on the right who always question the patriotism of those who dissent. It could be argued compellingly that those on the right who wrap themselves in the flag and label all dissent as unpatriotic generally do so because their lack of a legitimate argument or the facts to back it up leaves them, jingoistic flag-waving aside, naked as jaybirds.
|# February 18th, 2006 11:20 AM JohnTant|
|Not touchy at all...just pointing out the hypocrisy.
Maybe that's what made *you* touchy enough to pen a response, mbrlr. And interesting you still visit the same old canards.
That shark is lower and lower beneath you. :)
ETA: By the way, we're all still waiting for you to support your statement vis a vis Cheney (9/11, Iraq...ringing a bell?). And you know, no Art Bell links, either. :)
|# February 18th, 2006 1:23 PM james|
The problems during the campaign and with Kerry had to do with the fact that most of the allegations were bald-faced lies and the veterans group that fronted the attack was set up and funded by the right.
bald-faced lies? according to who? you seem to be attacking the allegations based solely on the fact that they were funded by someone that you disagree with. comeon, rush limbaugh saying "2+2=4" doesn't make it any less true.
of course people who oppose john kerry are the ones running the ads critical of him. who else would you expect to run them?
it's as if you live in a world where when those whom you oppose speak out it's a smear or a lie, but when people you support speak out it's a just and proper cause.
i don't for one second pretend that all politics isn't dirty and nasty, but the dems seem to be so much dirtier and nastier. "your side" goes as far as to manufacture evidence support their smears. what do we hear about bush, parroted again and again?
- he's dumb. (remember this fake) (or this one?)
- he's a drunk/druggie (remember gore springing on election eve?
- he's a draft dodger / awol (memogate
what am i missing? a lot, im sure. there the "no blood for oil" garbage, the allegations that gwb is in bed with the saudis, the "bush lied people died" nonesense, etc. seriously, you people seem to think that anything that rhymes is worth protesting.