Friday night millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the 29th Olympiad/2008 Olympic Games opening ceremony. I was right there with them, as to me, this is true athletics. I hardly watch professional sports, I confess, but when the Olympics are in progress, I am all eyes and ears. My youngest brother, Bruno, is a past torch-bearer.
Unbelievable and jaw-dropping was used by television co-host Bob Costas to describe the 300 million dollar opening ceremony. Using tens of thousands of unpaid Communist volunteers in incredible (and almost scary) unison the Chinese sent the world a message that they are unified enough to take on the world and this point was driven-in a thousand fold. Seventy-five thousand fold to be roughly exact and the Chinese government had the tough job of culling-out the other four million who wanted the unpaid tedious voluntary jobs.
In a stadium built for this initial purpose we saw a technological demonstration unmatched in size, cost and splendor that due to overall cost will probably never again be repeated. Words fail to describe how incredible this ceremony was. Using gigantic LED screens extending over a quarter of a mile and 15000 plus performers in perfect unison I saw the determined spirit of a country on the move which to me resembles an unstoppable tidal wave of awesome and unbeatable power.
And thus, the world’s top athletes have descended into the Bird’s Nest National Stadium of the Forbidden City of Beijing, China to compete. China’s coming out party is a better description of this ultra-extravagant Olympic ceremony. Everything is on the line for the athletes as always, but watching the ceremonies, effort, expense and choreography; I can’t help but think that heads will roll in China if gold/silver/bronze medals aren’t produced by their determined athletes.
This past week American runners apologized for wearing protective masks due to the oppressing smog and this is a country with a government which strong-handedly shut down most automobile traffic and smog-producing industry just to clear the air for the Olympics. Try that in the United States and our citizens would rightly laugh out loud.
We do not understand the Chinese. Their concept of state-enforced unity is foreign to us freedom loving people. Their philosophy in life was exemplified by the 2008 Tai Chi Masters who in unison exhibited precision movements in the Bird’s Nest Friday night. Chinese people do not mind doing everything in unison, which incidentally is scary and threatening and defies the concept of freedom of choice we Americans demand. I can’t even imagine finding 28 martial arts masters in America of any style, coming together to practice for eight months for a one night exhibition, performing it flawlessly and then footing their own bill. Heckfire, Matt Lauer even referred to it as karate, to show how little he understands the importance of Chinese martial arts to the Chinese. Karate is Okinawan, which is part of Japan, the ancient enemy of China.
We do not understand how much is at stake for the 639 Chinese athletes in this Olympics. We do not understand how determined they are to please their government. We do not understand that China has over 600 million citizens fit for military service and the money, thanks to us Americans, to fund this Army. We do not understand that the greatest passion the Chinese know is revenge.
Words cannot exaggerate or adequately describe the splendor of the opening ceremony and I do not want anyone to think I did not appreciate the effort and splendor. I just couldn’t get past China’s economic drive, Communist doctrine of freedom suppression and the feeling I was watching a Chinese commercial for future global expansion and ultimately - domination.
We Americans hold the key to success for our own destiny, destruction and/or survival. The Olympic spirit we exhibit, as the greatest free country on earth, can and will trump the Chinese, or justify them. Our 647 American athletes must uphold the spirit of the Olympics above all other nations. We simply must and it’s important to win of course, but win without controversy and this friend, will justify our way of life to the Chinese.
The Olympics should be without politics and I apologize for making it so, but it’s also important to realize the Chinese do not look at these games the way most of the rest of the world does. The Japanese in the past have referred to China as “the sick men of Asia” and make no mistake; the Chinese government and the determined and self-sacrificing unified nation behind it, have every intention of setting the record straight.
This is without doubt, the most important date in modern Chinese history. With all this said, I pray the best athletes win, regardless of country origin, for that after all, is the true spirit of the Olympics.
The older I get, the more I realize how much time I've wasted that could have been productive. Not for one second do I think ...
When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much. It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amaz...
Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force...
Ben Franklin, the original Benjamin guy. I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three ye...