Interesting bit of channel-flipping after work last night. On one, I watched a report on the plight of Buddha’s noble, peaceful warriors. In Tibet, and less directly, in Burma, the Chinese government has aggressively thwarted their efforts to simply worship as they please.
I switched to ESPN, where LeBron James was discussing his newfound compassion for the suffering in Darfur (genocide sponsored by China). That interview was taped months before the Olympics, when James was practicing some damage control after being criticized for not signing a petition condemning China’s financial support of the Sudanese government.
Now he’s a bit more circumspect. Time to play basketball, you know.
We’re here to win the gold, James said, not to discuss politics. Kobe Bryant was equally feckless, saying, in effect, no one cares what athletes think.
Not so in China. With the Communist regime incorporating free market elements, American sports superstars have emerged as (safely sanitized) household names, especially now with Yao Ming competing against them in the NBA.
The Chinese people assume the American players are mere wards of the state. That’s how it is in their country.
The USOC is encouraging such submission. We’re here to dominate weaker countries, that’s all. Pride, not politics.
And really, what could be more inspiring than seeing a bunch of multi-millionaires unite to defeat a team of Lithuanians (whose center stands 6’7) by three points? I’m sure it’ll come of great comfort to the monks in exile. Maybe they’ll be inspired to fight harder. Get some guns and shit.
Better to see Americans, famous worldwide, standing up for what’s right, risking nothing more than some endorsement cash they would hardly miss. Think that might draw some attention? Hell, it might even touch a patriotic nerve or two.
Just a few words, or even a symbolic gesture — however choreographed — would send a message of encouragement to the oppressed. I bet they’d appreciate it.
Too bad there’s not a shoe deal attached.
Assuming none, I hope the Lithuanians kick our (their) ass.