Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi--among others--is urging President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in China this summer. There are also a number of people who say we should completely boycott the competition like we did in 1980. This is one of those extremely rare instances where I find myself in agreement with Speaker Pelosi. Given the recent incidents of violence against Tibet, along with China's generally abysmal track record of violating basic human rights, a Presidential boycott of the opening ceremonies would be the appropriate symbolic gesture to the Chinese government and the rest of the world. Given that we consider our country to be the bastion of liberty and human rights, it would appear inconsistent for the President to attend the ceremonies, and thereby indirectly paying tribute to this repressive Marxist regime.
What do we have to lose by not attending? Is President Bush afraid of offending the political leaders who brutalize and terrorize their own citizens? And what if they are offended? Are they going to stop trading with us, their number one buyer of Chinese goods? Are they going to turn off the flow of billions of our dollars into their country?
The next logical step would seem to be a complete boycott of the Olympics; however, to do so would be to interfere with the lives of thousands of American athletes. Olympians devote their lives to the competition. They spend years in hard work, intense training, pain and sacrifice all for the hope of basking in the Olympic spotlight of athletic glory. The government has no right to trounce on those dreams. It should be left to the individual conscience of each competitor to decide whether or not they will compete.
The root of the problem lies with the Olympic Committee. They should have never awarded the Games to a country that spits on human rights. Tens of thousands of ordinary Chinese have been ruthlessly uprooted from their homes for the sole purpose of constructing the necessary infrastructure for the Games. Their suffering and anquish rests not only on the shoulders of the Chinese government, but on the Olympic Committee as well.
The Olympics should be hosted only by countries whose governments recognize and respect the rights of their citizens. The Games are about celebrating and rewarding
individual human acheivement. To award the Games to a country like China is to denigrate the spirit that symolizes the best that human beings can be.