Mark, you’re wrong again. I was going to make this a long entry, go point by point, but I’ll just highlight some points.

First of all, that you shouldn’t tie politics or whatever to the games, that it doesn’t matter. Hogwash. Of course it matters. You’re not going to see the games in, say, Iraq, anytime soon, regardless of how prepared it can be. Why? Political reasons. And these reasons matter.

It can certainly be argued that the Games represent a certain type of spirit, of sportsmanship and respect, and that a country that has egregious human rights violations contradicts the very spirit of the Games.

But whatever. The thing is, the Games are very much political. In a sense, the country that gets the games is seen as being rewarded in a symbolic way by the international community. As you say, pride and prestige. So whether you agree with it or not, it makes sense why people would make an issue of China’s human rights record. Because how is it right to reward such a country?

Anyway, to say the Games aren’t (or even that it’s possible that they not be) linked to politics is completely and utterly naive and unrealistic, in my opinion.

In regards to teaching China a lesson and make it better. I don’t know if that’s the issue. The issue is again, whether it’s right to reward the country with “pride and prestige” in light of its record. It may or may not change. That’s not the issue. What is the issue is whether it’s justified to reward the country.

In regards to Berlin ’36 and Moscow ’80. First of all, I have no idea what your point is because your sentence makes no sense. But yeah, these were both significant events. 1936 was a huge aberration, in which Hitler pretty much forced the Games into Germany. And, if you don’t remember, it was significant because Jesse Owens almost singlehandedly made a mockery of Hitler’s absurd Aryan superiority claims. And it put the international community’s focus on the absurdity of those claims. It’s seen as being pretty significant.

Moscow ’80 is also significant because it showed how very linked to politics the Olympics really are. As did the next Games in L.A. The lesson here is that the Games are political, and you can’t ignore that.

In regards to Congress trying to interfere with the IOC. Argh, of course people want this, what else should they do? The IOC controls this thing that is in some way an international community. No single country has “sovereignty” over it. And that’s to say that no country should say anything to it? That it should just do whatever it wants? There was a big scandal in regards to the Salt Lake Games, with IOC members getting tons of gifts and whatever. And you’re saying no country should try to interfere with the IOC because they have no “sovereignty”?

It’s an international thing; if something is wrong, of course countries should try to interfere. It’s nonsensical not to. The alternative is to be a slave to its decisions without having any say. Sounds like China. Anyway, I’m not saying the IOC should be a slave to Congress, but it’s equally wrong to say the U.S. shouldn’t say anything at all in regards to an issue it things is wrong.

“China has never been under democratic rule ONCE in its millenia-long history — it’s not just a Communist thing — so why are all the advocates pushing to change now?” Argh. First of all, the ones who don’t want the Games there care more about the humans rights issues than China being a democracy. Are there any people really saying the Games shouldn’t be there until it’s a democracy? It’s human rights issues they care about.

But regardless, what the heck are you talking about? The U.S. has only been under democratic rule once in its history. A lot of democracies have. That’s because democracy is a relatively new form of government. So how can you talk about China never being a democracy? How is that relevant? Democracy is new. “Why are all the advocates pushing to change now?” As opposed to years ago? Because democracy exists now. Because many countries in the world are democracies now. How could have happened years ago when democracies didn’t exist, or when it wasn’t so well established in the world?

“Witness countries like China, North Korea, Iraq, etc participating in the games as competitors — no one is calling for a boycott of them, right?” Argh, this makes no sense. It’s not about participating, it’s about hosting. And that’s without question political. If the IOC proposed giving the Games to North Korea or Iraq, you bet that people would call for a boycott of them. Isn’t this obvious?

But in the end, I don’t really care. But the Games are political. There’s no question about that.

Does anyone remember that quote when Jiang Zemin visited Cuba? He was saying how he liked Cuba because they have a similar human rights record. I thought that was absolutely hilarious.

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