Well, the 2008 Summer Games are drawing nearer, and it seems that everyone is getting into the spirit of celebrating the Olympics and their host, Beijing, China.
Those of us who opposed awarding the Games to that city and nation from the outset are growing fewer and fewer — but the evidence that we were right is growing.
My reasons for opposing Beijing were twofold. First up, the Olympics are a “reward” for being a good member of the international community. Countries that have a brutal record for outward aggression and inward oppression are usually excluded from the honor. And on that front, China’s record — on both fronts — is indisputable. Outward aggression? Talk to Tibet. Or Taiwan, formerly known as the Republic of China. Inward oppression? Try being a Christian there. Or a member of the Falun Gong (which I don’t know much about, but I’ve heard described as “Tai Chi For Jesus”). Or bring up the protesters who wanted just a taste of freedom in Tiennanmen Square. (That last one might be difficult — a lot of those who didn’t end up as tank tread grease ended up dying of acute lead poisoning, with their families being given the bill for the bullet.) Hell, just try to exercise your “right to choose” concerning your reproductive freedom and have more than one child. Even if it’s to replace a child killed in a substandard government building in an earthquake, you still better get government permission — and if you don’t, you get to be Roe V. Waded whether you like it or not.
OK, tha’ts purely political. And the Olympics are supposed to be apolitical. (I will pause briefly so everyone can have a hugely derisive laugh.) How about purely pragmatic reasons?
Well, how about the strong possibility that going to Beijing and competing could seriously injure — or even kill — the athletes?
China is a signatory to the Kyoto Accords, that wonderful agreement that was supposed to end global warmening and make the world a brighter, cleaner, happier place. As a result of that decade-old agreement, Beijing has some of the most polluted air in the world. It’s often declared as “unsafe” for “sensitive groups.”
Athletes are among the healthiest people around. But I suspect that some of them are like high-performance cars — capable fo remarkable feats, but high-maintenance and fragile. While they’re competing in Beijing, I suspect that a lot of them will be breathing very heavily and sucking in a lot of air. Many of them will be competing outside. And with every breath, they’ll be sucking in a devil’s brew of smog, toxins, metals, pollutants, and all sorts of things that are “not healthy for children and other living things.”
But that’s not too high a price to pay for keeping the tyrants of Beijing happy, and selling us cheap stuff, and buying our stuff (often without our permission — see any of a number of Chinese spy scandals), so what the hell. Let them have the Olympics.
As I said, people like me are seriously outnumbered on this front. President Bush is planning on attending the opening ceremonies. Senator Barack Obama is planning on advertising on the television coverage. And I don’t know what Senator McCain’s position is, but I suspect it isn’t too much of a concern for him, either.
Screw them. I’m standing my ground. I, personally, intend to boycott any and all Olympic coverage and news stories for this spectacle. (No great sacrifice for me; I’ve never given a rat’s ass about sports anyway.) Let others be bought off with cheap trinkets and short-term gains, and let them turn a blind eye to the heinous crimes of the tyrants of Beijing.
I can’t do that. There isn’t a hell of a lot I can do about it, but I can do this. And I will.