(888) 277-4253

COMMENTARY: The Sochi Olympics and the high price of participating

President Barack Obama has stated that he doesn’t believe it’s “appropriate” for us to boycott the Sochi 2014 Olympics because of Russia’s newly enacted anti-gay laws. He wants gays and lesbians to win medals and show the Russians how beneficial they are to Team USA.

Perhaps I’m a little naïve, but I’d like our gay and lesbian athletes to come home safely more than I want them to win a medal. Honestly, I’d like them to stay home, or I’d like to see the games moved to Vancouver.

And I’d like the USA to make some sort of statement about human rights and dignity and respect for all people – everywhere.

It’s not only the gay and lesbian athletes who could be in danger – it’s anyone who supports them by voice or the wearing of Pride pins or rainbow flags or perhaps even just touching them or hugging them.

Are you not offended that this “gay propaganda” law even exists? Does it not bother you that money will be flowing into a country that has laws that target people because of their sexual orientation?

Did Hitler’s Germany mean nothing? Have we learned nothing from the Olympics that were hosted by the Nazis?

The questions need to be asked:If it were blacks or Christians being targeted and beaten and killed, would the USA and Britain and all the other countries be a little more outraged? Would our President then believe it “appropriate” to boycott? I don’t know. I’m asking.

At what price do we play these Games? And let’s not lose sight of the fact that these are games. It’s skating and skiing and sledding and hockey – these are games.

I’m not taking away from the athletes who spend their lives training for these “games.” But, again,– the questions need to be asked: Why do these athletes do it? For the love of the Games? For the love of their country?

Or …

Are they looking for fame and those endorsement deals that come after the medals? I mean, who wouldn’t want their picture on a box of Wheaties? I just believe that at some point we have to stop and consider what is more important.

For me, it’s the lives of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters living in Putin’s homophobic Russia. They are being beaten, and they are dying simply for who they are. Team USA going there and winning medals and throwing it in the face of the Russians that we have gays and lesbians on our team is not going to make any difference.

But, if we didn’t go – and we didn’t give them any money - that would most certainly hurt them and Putin’s ego, which is larger than Russia itself.

Putin is being compared to our generation’s Hitler – and if I remember correctly – Americans promised: “Never again.”

But there has been Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia and Darfur, and the USA hasn’t sent in troops or stopped the killing. Let’s not even start with Uganda and the promise to behead the gays. Our promise of “never again” seems be something that Presidents both Republican and Democratic have chosen to ignore.

And this President, our President Obama, would rather chant USA, USA, USA than do anything that resembles making a stand for what is right and just in the world.

If you want to make you own statement – don’t watch and don’t buy from any of the companies who are sponsoring the games: Coke, McDonalds, Visa, Samsung, Dow, GE, Atos, Omega, Panasonic, P&G.

If you don’t care – chant USA, USA, USA with your Coke and McDonalds you bought with your Visa. Let’s just hope not one person is imprisoned or worse because our country, the United States of America, took the path of least resistance.

SDGLN Contributor Barb Hamp Weicksel was born in 1952 in Pennsylvania and moved to California in the early 1980s, where she met her partner Susan. They've been together some 30 years and share the love of Susan's four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her blog, Barb's Gift of Gab, can be found HERE.