April 8, 2008
So, I've been trying to get my simple sportswriter-type head around this whole kerfuffle over demonstrations and protests against the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and calls for a boycott of the Games in China.
The gist is, protesters have been using China's hosting of the Games as a worldwide stage to draw attention to the regime's treatment of Tibet and all of the unrest and civil disobience going on there.
The Dalai Lama's right in the thick of things. China's trying to clamp down on all the unrest just a few months before the Games in Beijing, and it's a hugely embarrassing time.
And this week, protesters are making worldwide headlines as they try to make life difficult in London and in Paris and, on Wednesday, in San Francisco, during the ceremonial torch-running exercise that's a part of all Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee, itself a den of high political power and money-grubbers beyond any bounds that could be imagined, is trying to stay on the high road, threatening to stop the torch-running to preserve the integrity of the Games.
Generally, I hate the mixture of politics with sports. Sports SHOULD be a pure thing just in and of itself, far above all the rest of the crapola.
But I also hated the mixture of drugs with sports and money with sports, and bad morals with sports, and that hasn't stopped any of the bad stuff from happening.
Sports, now, is part of the ugly world landscape, not separate at all.
So faced with all of this, I've been trying to figure out where I stand on an Olympics hosted by a repressive, yet dominant, society.
And my conclusion is that if a Hitler-led Germany could sponsor an Olympics, and a Bush-led U.S. could host a Games, why can't China?
The point is, the U.S. and most of the so-called Free World boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow while the Wall was up. The East Bloc boycotted the L.A. Olympics in 1984.
Politics, sadly, has always been a part of the Olympic movement. Both of those Games were severely diminished because it wasn't the entire world coming together.
Everyone knows China is a repressive regime. But where are almost all of the products we use nowadays made? In China.
We criticize them for their policies, but then we buy everything we own from them. It's all hypocrisy intertwined.
And it infests virtually every government and belief system we have, from Communism to Democracy.
We buy everything we own from China because they sell us those things cheaper, because they pay their workers diddly squat, at least comparatively speaking.
We talk out of both sides of our mouths.
We whine about the high cost of things and the high cost of us producing our own products because of high wages.
But then we also whine when all of our people lose their jobs because their wages are too high and they're laid off and their jobs are exported to other places with cheap labour.
Free trade has made unemployment rampant in the so-called progressive world because places like China and India have figured out how to give us what we want at a lower cost to us.
So our companies out-source to those places to save money...And to improve their own bottom lines.
Meanwhile, the cheaper costs are passed on to us, and we don't even think about arguing. We don't care where the products come from, as long as they're cheap.
We're blindly pacified.
We don't think about the overall cost to us in unemployment or a lost society. And we watch, from afar -- if we watch at all -- as those same countries that give us cheap products treat their citizens cheaply.
I could go on and on.
But I think a good term for what's happening is intertwined hypocrisy. And I think it's at play here in this Olympic torch saga and in the Olympic Games themselves, and the fact they're being held in China.
The Olympics slogan, supposedly its ideal, is Higher, Faster, Stronger.
And the Chinese have been issuing press releases decrying the demonstrations and protests against their Games, talking about how they're damaging the Olympic spirit.
Well, China is a regime that keeps its citizens Lower, Slower and Weaker. And the IOC and the world knew this when it granted them the 2008 Summer Games.
China is the biggest, most diverse country on the planet. It is economically involved, intimately, with the world. It's a huge power that the rest of the world isn't scorning, but is embracing.
So why wouldn't it also embrace China as a worthwhile host of the Olympic Games?
The protesters, while obviously acting against a bad thing, are just as much opportunists as anyone else. They know the pictures and stories they're generating all this week will be front-page news. It's all part of the game.
The game is much more than the 100-metre sprints or any other event that will actually take place in Beijing this summer. But all those events have already been tarnished by the whole steroids scandal.
I just wish sports was what it was to me as a kid. Unfortunately, it never will be again.
And now for some real news, from an email I received at work this week...
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico - The iconic sweethearts of American football, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders (DCC), have returned to Riviera Nayarit for a breathtaking whirlwind tour and photo shoot from April 3rd to April 9th.
The amazing beauty of Riviera Nayarit is the ideal setting for the 25 members of the DCC to return for a second time for their 2009 Swimsuit Calendar. A press event took place on April 4th to showcase the DCC, which also included a live performance.
The squad was also able to squeeze a little rest and recreation during their time in Riviera Nayarit. They enjoyed the region’s many attractions including authentic Mexican cuisine and fun adventure/eco tours.
A few highlights of their visit included: strolling the tranquil beaches of Rincon de Guayabitos; taking a motorboat through La Tovara National Park near San Blas to see the birds, crocodiles and turtles in this mangrove sanctuary; and relaxing in exclusive Punta Mita.