The debate about whether the Summer Olympics should have been held in
Despite being watered down in recent years, the Olympics remain one of the premier stages for athletes. The performances of the athletes not only say a lot about themselves, but also about the countries they represent.
As I've written before, the selection of
If the Olympics are supposed to showcase the best athletics have to offer, it is reasonable to expect that the IOC would pick a government that at least tries to nurture its citizens.
A recent political controversy was whether or not President George W. Bush should have attended the Games' opening ceremonies.
After all, there were plenty of reasons why he should not have gone. Personally, I went back and forth regarding this matter.
On one hand, it seemed wrong for him to go to a country where the government emphatically opposes much of the ideals for which the
By boycotting the Games, Bush could have made a powerful statement that would have tweaked the nose of the Chinese leadership.
On the other hand, by going, Bush had the opportunity to be an ambassador of freedom and could highlight the stark differences between the
Because of this opportunity, I believe his decision to attend was correct.
With the world's media pointed at
Additionally, he attended a worship service. Religious intolerance is a major issue there, but Bush knew he could make a powerfully symbolic statement by publicly worshipping.
Though many of us take the right to worship for granted, Bush understood that he could make a major statement without uttering a word. His single act showcased the wide gap between
The Chinese may rule with an iron hand, but there was nothing they could do to interfere with Bush doing that.
Additionally, Bush's presence reminded the world that the
Communist officials appoint Chinese leaders. Since they have little impact on how the government is operated, the Chinese people have to sit and take it.
Though the government there is trying to censor information during the Games, Bush's presence allowed a sliver of democracy to be seen in that land.
Though the sliver was small, we shouldn't underestimate the impact it could have on the country. Revolutions often take place when oppressed people get a brief glimpse at what life could be like.
Much like the Soviet Union before it,
I believe that will happen someday in
And that will be a happy day.