Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pop Quiz: What's More Important, Democracy or Athletics?

Listen. I like athletics as much as the next guy. In fact I'm kicking total ass in Sweet Sixteen bracketology (check it out dude, 13 for 14 games, 99th percentile on Yahoo, I'M TOTALLY RULING). But at times we have to choose priorities, and the arrival of the Chinese Olympic Torch in the U.S. means that this is one of those times.

To be honest, we conservatives don't go to a lot of marches. That's fine. But what's embarrassing is when conservatives tell people not to go to the torch protests because "what the Olympic torch stands for is more important". Not. It's not. It's not more important than advancing U.S. interests and global democracy. A communist country has turned the Olympics into a global advertisement for its success and influence, and they're running through our streets, and at home ignoring the civilized world's demands that they start treating their citizens democratically, and people are telling me that behaving ourselves for these 21st-century oppressors is more important?

I expect that sort of fatalist, surrenderist, do-nothing attitude from collectivist victim-cult left-wing types. It's pretty embarrassing from self-described conservatives. If we can help bring attention to what China's up to, and put second thoughts into the heads of anybody into the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party, by ruining the day of a guy who signed up to run with a torch for a few hundred yards - I guess I'm okay with that. And I'm saying that as an avid distance runner too. Come on - if even some of the French Olympic athletes are going to wear badges to the games, then we can't get shown up by FRANCE, can we?

While it's understandable that China would want "to project the image of ... a modern, economically dynamic state with growing international influence", others have used the Olympics for the same reason - in fact that quote describes Germany in 1936.

One of my favorite accounts is Hitler refusing to shake the hand of Jesse Owens and the other black American athletes who raked in the gold medals that year (Yeah, **** you, Hitler.) Who knows if the 2008 Olympics will give us any images so historically enduring? For the people of Tibet, and North Korea, and Myanmar, and Taiwan, and China - I hope so.


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