President Obama has taken the correct steps thus far in restoring our nation’s reputation abroad. He’s eschewed former President Bush’s Jack Bauer-meets-Dirty Harry form of unilateralism in favor of something far more reasonable and politically savvy: Talking to other countries, regardless of how much they love us. He’s offered pointed, direct and sometimes-critical assessments of the United States during his travels, and, like clockwork, his detractors have ripped him for this. A president should always defend the country, they say.
With that in mind, I’d love to hear this sect of conservative America explain how they can reconcile that sense of “patriotism” with their giddy, hypocritical behavior on Friday over the United States losing its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
The bid, which was rejected Friday by the International Olympic Committee, did not stem from Chicago, Ill., but rather from the U.S. Olympic Committee. This means the bid represented our nation as a whole. Winner Rio de Janeiro was the official bid of Brazil, Tokyo was Japan’s, and Madrid was Spain’s.
First, Obama’s decision to address the IOC was met with cries of “He’s wasting time with butt-kissing!” Now, it seems as if Republicans and other Obama opponents want to spin the decision as a massive loss by the president and his cronies in Chicago politics. They’re happy we lost out here. “Hahahahaha,” wrote the eloquent Erick Erickson on the conservative “RedState” blog on Friday, “I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone.”
These people are apparently forgetting that Obama’s loss is our loss. All of ours’, as Americans. Show me a red-blooded American who doesn’t enjoy seeing one of our own athletes accept a gold medal with the national anthem blaring, and I’ll show you my pet octopus-gorilla splicing experiment.
We all know the stories of the Miracle at Lake Placid, Carl Lewis, the Dream Team, Michael Phelps and countless others who won the gold for their country. We Americans love home field advantage, and we always want to show the rest of the world what we are made of. Ask your parents how they felt about the Olympics being hosted by Atlanta, Ga. in 1996.
Any criticism levied against President Obama over going to Denmark to pitch for the games in Chicago is way out of line. These people are making this about politics or ideology. Sorry guys, but it’s not. It’s about our pride, our chance to shine on a global stage, our loss of a potential tool in restoring sorely needed international goodwill. It’s about America. When an American city loses an Olympic bid, we all lose.
I would kindly ask those who have greeted President Obama’s trip to Copenhagen with scorn and our failure to win the 2016 Games with glee to henceforth no longer refer to yourselves as “patriotic.” The last few days have dropped some of you down to the same level as the “America-haters” you love to criticize.
I will never advocate shouting another individual down in a debate; it’s dehumanizing, and it adds absolutely nothing to the democratic process. That said, if someone has to be shouted down, these critics of the Chicago 2016 campaign would at least deserve it.
It takes nerve, stupidity or both to blast Obama’s very patriotic Olympic efforts, only to drive away in a car with a “support our troops” or “buy American” sticker.
Kevin Hollinshead is a junior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.