Since the Olympics began, like billions of people, I have been glued to my TV. I’ve felt every spin on the beam, stretch to the wall, dive for the ball, and synchronized feat—loving every moment of athletic glory. If the triumph of the human mind, body, and spirit displayed during the 17 days of the Olympics brings out the best in us every four years—the opposite rings true for what seems like the “never ending race” to the White House.
Four years ago I found myself compelled to write and share my thoughts about the vitriol that was the 2008 election. There were more smears in that campaign than black eye shadow on Kris Jenner. We had winks (eyes rolling) and shouts. Labels like “un-American”, “terrorists”, and racially charged sketches of the would-be First couple (that I would rather not revisit) were thrown about in the media with such ease. It seemed like we had finally sunk to the bottom of the “belly politic” or so I thought.
Now, four years later I’m having déjà vu, but worse. Since the 2008 elections we’ve had the rise of the Tea-Party, a restructuring or as I like to say total dismemberment of campaign finance laws—here’s looking at you Justice Roberts. And then there is the resurgence of a Republican House that would rather see the country fail than move an iota of the President’s issues forward, like jobs. Who needs jobs when you can waste millions rehashing the healthcare debate thirty-three times in a row?
As both election season and the Olympics heats up, my delight over the limits at which the human body can be stretched are quelled by thoughts of how low this campaign season will steep. Every other message from the Romney camp is on how Obama has “lied” to the American people and “failed” them when it came to jobs. Really?
Okay our unemployment is still hovering over 8%, but Republicans in Congress refuse to pass a jobs bill that would help. Why? Because Americans prospering would make President Obama look good—God fobid!. So, instead of doing what’s right for the country they sit and wait to resume power.
What’s amazing though is that their “power” has nothing to do with their vision for America. Not once in these bogus campaign commercials have I heard what the opposition would do. It’s not just important to outline what you perceive to be your opponents flaws but what you would actually bring to the table as an alternative choice.
The Olympics bring us not only the best athletic talent the world has to offer but also defines what true sportsmanship looks like. Imagine what the Olympics would look like if world athletes spent a majority of their time trashing their opponents instead of performing? How far do you think that would get them if they spent countless hours undermining their opponent’s efforts instead of training for the gold themselves?
Elections, like the Olympics, should bring forth the best representatives of America—people that inspire us to be better and do better, and who have the passion, vision and fortitude to make us better. Unfortunately, they do not.
Olympians show us what the human spirit can achieve with grace and sheer determination, one inch, one millisecond, and one twist at a time. Republicans could learn a thing or two from them, as they have clearly lost their way. They twist things too, like reality and the truth.
As the lights on the podiums dim, and our focus turns from the Olympic stage to the political theater my hope is that our politicians take some cues from Gabby Douglas and the Fab Five, and handle the competition for the White House with as much dignity, grace, and style as these teenagers have.
Musical inspiration after the jump. “We ARE the champions!”
This post was republished on the Huffington Post.