Despite Brazil’s crumbling economy and its pre-Olympics scrum of a preparation, the athletes have turned the public’s attention to competition.
And, oh, it is glorious.
A sprite-like little girl born to a drug-addicted mother and put into foster care led the U.S. women’s gymnastics team to gold – a team, it should be noted, that includes two black women, a Jewish woman and a Puerto Rican.
A guy with two DUIs and an infamous photo of him smoking marijuana out of a bong won his 25th – 25th! – Olympic medal.
An out lesbian is leading the U.S. women’s soccer team.
A Muslim American competed in fencing.
An all refugee team, that includes a swimmer who saved 20 lives, is competing under the Olympic flag.
The Olympics, despite the catastrophe that hosting the Games drops upon most nations, are magical.
They represent all that is good in the world: Triumph, perseverance, commitment, selflessness, diversity.
The Olympics are the antithesis of Donald Trump.
He mocks a physically disabled reporter like he is a third-grade bully on the playground.
He makes rude, off-the-cuff remarks about a deceased war hero’s mother, an upstanding judge, the entire Muslim religion and people from Mexico.
He calls on foreign rivals to hack emails and upon citizens’ to use their guns against his political rival.
And, nearly 20 years ago, he got on a national radio broadcast and described all the women he “could have,” how many blowjobs he got and how he could’ve “had” Princess Diana. (He said this right after her death.)
It was on a freeway in Southern California in 1997 that I decided I didn’t like Donald Trump. He was vulgar, immature and self-centered.
Now, he is the GOP presidential candidate.
And it was this morning watching the news – juxtaposing the Olympics glory with Trump inciting a veiled threat against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton – I realized everything amazing about the Olympics is the exact opposite of what he touts.
He creates chaos, tosses insults, exudes ignorance, avoids responsibility and gloats about himself.
He could learn so much from the ever-gracious Katie Ledecky and Maya DiRado.
You might not like Obamacare. But, more people in this country are insured than ever before.
It hits your wallet too hard? Talk to any health care professional – insurance rates were destined to rise without a full implementation of universal health care and an overhaul of the legal structure surrounding medical malpractice. (And, wouldn’t you know, Obama and Democratic legislators have attempted to do both of those things since the law was enacted. In order to keep this issue a political wedge, the GOP hasn’t allowed it.)
In the Olympics, athletes help each other – sometimes with a tangible expense.
Take Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux. The waters became choppy and caused a Singapore boat to capsize. In second place in the medal run at the 1988 Seoul Games, Lemieux stopped, picked up the sailors and waited for patrol. He finished 22nd.
You might think the economy isn’t good. But, eight years ago, the unemployment rate was almost 8 percent (it’s 5 percent today), the deficit was $1 trillion higher (thanks in large part to the sequester – checks and balances!) and homes were being foreclosed at a devastating rate. We were at the height of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. (The era was even called the Great Recession, for crying out loud!)
What’s going on today? Fifteen million jobs created in the public sector over 77 months of the Obama administration. Look at the Dow Jones Industrial today – it was at an all-time high in July 2016.
Why don’t we feel it, then?
Maybe it is because as shareholders/executives are raking in profits, CEOs are making record bonuses and the Panama Papers reveal that more shell companies are hiding more taxable dollars than ever before might I suggest the problem is greed rather than a president?
And, who is the symbolic figure of this greed? Trump.
Look what his good buddy Vladimir Putin did in Sochi, if you want to read about greed. The Sochi Games cost a record $51 billion. Putin swept his staunchly anti-gay policies under the rug, overran the budget by about $40 billion and – with the fall of oil prices – put his country into a perilous economic situation.
Finally, you might just not like Hillary Clinton. Fine. Scour your mind and make sure it isn’t because Clinton is a woman.
Benghazi? It was tragic and there were messed-up protocols, but has there ever been a Secretary of State of this country who had no blood on his/her hands? It’s a tragic and sad job requirement.
Emails? Inexcusable. As a journalist, this severely irks me because I don’t believe the private server was used for her convenience, but rather to keep emails off the public record. Alas, they are on the record now. Read them for yourself. (They actually made me like her, so…)
For the last eight years, I have maintained the two most important issues within the executive branch of the U.S. government are these:
1.) Selecting Supreme Court justices. The bench has a gaping hole right now as the U.S. Senate refuses to acknowledge Obama’s nomination. This means the next president will, likely, immediately get a nomination in the first 100 days. And, five of the eight judges are at least 68 with two in their 80s.
How does the Supreme Court affect your life? you might wonder. In about every way you can imagine: How we work, how we are paid, vote, operate in our own home, protect and educate children, protect our reputations, what we can watch and read.
For women, specifically, you can vote, own property, go to school, access birth control and, yes, have an abortion.
For my gay friends, you can legally have sex and get married thanks to the Supreme Court! (Keep in mind, with a ruling as late as 1986, you couldn’t even legally have sex!) Thanks to two Bill Clinton appointees, that ’86 ruling was overturned and, as of 2003, you could. (whew!)
2.) Income inequality. How much is enough for the incredibly rich? According to Trump, nothing is enough. Not gold-lined elevators, a private jet or even the presidency.
The richest 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80 percent owns just 7 percent.
Income inequality continued to expand during Barack Obama’s tenure until 2013, when it slightly contracted.
It isn’t enough. And, Trump’s ridiculous tax plan is to cut the rate on top earners by 25 percent. (Note: He has already changed his tax plan from four to three tax brackets, so this is apparently a moving target.)
This doesn’t help.
Goodness, even Michael Phelps knows when enough is enough.
And, yes, we Americans love winners, as Trump points out over and over.
That isn’t Trump’s America.