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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-No to opening sends right note

Illustration by Daniel  Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel  Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington

The Olympics have always been an event embraced and supported by our county.

We Americans revel in the glories, successes and even failures of our athletes who have spent much of their lives training to excel in their sports.

Throughout its history, the Olympics have faced many controversies, including recent speculation that many track and field athletes have been using illegal drugs to get their Olympian boost as reported in The New York Times.

The upcoming Olympics in Beijing also are embedded in a political quagmire over the Chinese problems with Tibet. On April 13, President Bush called it a cop-out for world leaders to boycott the event’s opening ceremonies in protest of China’s crackdown on Tibet. But Bush is wrong. He should be at the forefront of the other world leaders who plan to boycott those opening ceremonies.

Many Democrats, human rights groups, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, some Republicans and Republican nominee Sen. John McCain have pressured Bush to boycott the ceremonies. Hilary Clinton is bravely adding her support to human rights groups pressing for a boycott because of what China is doing to Tibet and because of its failure to help stop genocide in Darfur. Sen. Barack Obama is “hesitant” to use the Olympics to make a political point.

Forget the political point. The possible boycott of the opening ceremonies is simply a human rights point, not a political one. Clinton should be applauded for sticking her neck out and doing the right thing, especially at this critical time in her race for the White House.

Bush is most likely to get the Chinese leaders’ attention by refusing to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing. The president should not go to Beijing unless the Chinese leaders enter a genuine dialogue with the Dalai Lama on autonomy for Tibet. 

But Bush should also make clear that the U.S. opposes any boycott of the games, which only hurts the athletes. This kind of symbolic gesture would be a rare positive chapter in the Bush history. Bush, calling the Olympics a sporting rather than a political event, has shown no signs of skipping the games, but both British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel plan to stay at home, though Brown will go to the closing ceremony.

As the world’s most populated nation gets set to stage its first Olympic Games, the United States needs to take a stand, and its president needs to direct that stand.

The Olympics give athletes a chance to shine, and the event gives our country a chance to stand on the right side of justice. With so much turmoil in our world, Bush needs to stand up for what is right and act like the leader he is.

We cannot have the world’s superpower behave in such a manner. Bush’s message of the war in Iraq should be stated even louder to the Chinese. Bush should not attend the opening ceremonies for the Olympics unless the Chinese government eases its stronghold on Tibet.

Although Bush has said he intends to attend the opening ceremonies, he should change that stance to prove this country stands against Chinese tyranny.

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