There are those who would have us believe that we have all gathered together in Beijing as one big happy family to play games and to share high-fives. After all, we are citizens of the world, aren’t we? Even our own media has been not-so-subtle in slipping the “We are the world” propaganda into its presentation.
One of the miscalculations that Napoleon made in his attempt to craft a one-world empire, was due to his ignorance of how deep nationalism ran in the blood of the people he sought to incorporate into his empire. He thought that they would be thrilled to “join” up and become a part of one big happy family, with him, of course, being the “Daddy”. They weren’t.
Nationalism is very much alive and on display in Beijing. The idea that the Olympics are some peaceful platform where the competition is more between individuals than between nations is absurd. How many of you found yourself exclaiming “WE WON! WE WON!” when Jason Lezak touched the wall first in that race of all races?
While the rest of the world, with the exception of the French, may have enjoyed the intensity of the race, it was the USA who shared in the victory. When he won, we won.
Have you noticed that our uniforms are a mix of red –white- and blue? Call it patriotism. Call it nationalism. Call it whatever you like, but do not tell me that it does not exist at the Olympics. Not only does it exist there, but it thrives there like at no other venue on earth, and it will as long as the flags of the nations are unfurled.
The flag is the standard of the nation, and it speaks of history and sacrifice and pride. We Americans have always rallied around our flag, and the only way to neutralize the games is to leave the flags at home.
The emergence of competition between the USA and China reminds me of a course I once taught in high school called “Americanism verses Communism”. While politicians of neither country are actually in the arena, you get the feeling that the world is watching two very different views of life compete against each other.
Who really envies the young Chinese girls who were taken from their parents to become sports-slaves of the state? I would rather be a loser going home to freedom, than a gold-medalist who lives under the heavy hand of communism.
When it comes to the USA verses China, the real winner will not be determined by what takes place in the medal count. The real winner will be determined by what happens when the stadium lights are turned off, and life returns to what it really is. I don’t think I would want to live in China when the world goes home.