The Juxtaposition of Politics and the Olympics

I couldn’t help but notice both on my Facebook feed and also on the national news the disparity between politics and the Olympics.

On the one hand, we have people like Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Ryan Lochte and a host of others who have devoted themselves to a goal and have pursued that goal relentlessly.   For years.  With the knowledge that there are no easy answers and no easy routes to obtaining their goals.   The early morning practices, the aches, the pains, the challenges, the injuries to overcome.   It’s truly inspiring to hear their stories and to see the elation when they achieve the goals and the frustration when they come up short of what they planned.

I love watching the Olympics, not because I’m a huge gymnastics or swimming fan, but because of what it shows about the human spirit and the determination to achieve goals.   The human quotient behind the Olympics is what makes it special for me.

On the other hand, we have politics.  What is the main theme behind a vast majority of political campaigns?   “The other guy is a jerk, vote for me.”    That could summarize most political campaigns and it’s a sad commentary on our society.

I graduated from college with an English Major and a History Minor, so I’ve studied a good bit of history over the years.  I’m not sure I could say this is the lowest our political discussions and political campaigns have ever sunk.

But if it isn’t, it’s definitely close to the bottom.   

And every time we (people of the world) have sunk this low in our politics, it has not ended well for that country.   Whether it be France during the time of Napoleon, Italy or Germany in WWII, I could list many many other governments and political “realms” that have struggled, it’s all ended badly.

On the one hand, we have people who have quietly (okay maybe Michael isn’t so quiet) and relentlessly pursued their goals.   

On the other hand, we have people who do run our government and want to run our government who spend more time telling us how stupid the other person is,  how awful it is going to be if that person wins and that it’s really okay to support their candidate because it helps their party even if that candidate says things that are directly contradictory to your own personal beliefs.

Isn’t the country and your principles more important than your party?   I guess not for many of them.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  

And to quote Winston Churchill at one of the shortest commencement speeches in history,  “Never, never, never, never give up.”


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