“If the Winter Games hadn’t come to Sochi, we wouldn’t have seen or felt its paradox: a supposed Olympic truce with extraordinary underlying tensions over human rights abuses, punitive anti-gay laws and a political firestorm in Ukraine.”
So says Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins, who goes on to say the paradox was “captured perfectly by Billie Jean King, the former tennis champion and gay activist who was to headline the U.S. delegation at the closing ceremonies.”
King said, “Sometimes it’s good to go to places where things aren’t good., Sometimes you can help change by going to places where it’s difficult.”
“Where things aren’t good?” Makes me wonder when the last time Billie Jean stepped foot in her native country, the U.S. The clear implication is that America is so vastly morally superior to Russia where there are “human rights abuses.”
Sure won’t find those here in the U.S., unless, of course, you count the largest prison population in the world as a human rights abuse, where a young black man is serving a life sentence for having in his possession a bag containing the residue of crack cocaine.
Or over a million kids hungry, or thousands dying from lack of health care, or a record number of banks stealing homes in a process called foreclosure, often by fraudulent means (you won’t find a banker in prison).
Or workers toiling for $8 an hour while their owners make more in a day than they do in a year, resulting in the largest gap of income inequality in the world, where your own government spies on your every move and a whopping 80 percent of Americans live in poverty or near-poverty, it’s a crime in many cities to be homeless, torture, and our political leaders pass laws denying Americans aid so they can eat.
Arizona tried to make it illegal for gays to eat in restaurants and back home in Indiana, gays can’t get married.
As for “political firestorms,” perhaps if Billie Jean is so keen on “going to places where it’s difficult” so she can help make change, she could take another all-expenses paid trip to Iraq, or Afghanistan, to name just a couple countries the U.S. has laid waste to, with no end in sight.
Or she could visit some families whose loved ones have been executed by U.S. killer drones, loved ones committing no crime and charged with no crime.
Or she could visit some of the sweat shops bought and paid for by the U.S. and see the kids toiling for practically nothing in conditions that lead to suicide. Then she could pay a visit to the mansions the CEOs of these companies live in.
Or visit a country that treats drug addiction as a social problem, not as a crime, and see drug usage decline.
Here, many drugs are illegal, so the rich who run things can have a ready supply of customers to stock their for-profit prisons. Naturally, in a country with values like these, the threat of thinking for yourself is so great that in Louisiana the governor is abolishing all state aid to libraries.
Is it a surprise to anyone that America has the highest rate of child abuse of any industrialized country? Abusers are often given little or no prison time while their victims are made to suffer. Consider the guy who got four years in Indiana in 2004 for sexual molestation, and three more in 2007, and in 2012 in Colorado he was arrested again. But in March he’s free to murder three people and rape a young girl.
As for Sally Jenkins, I suggest she stop on her way back to Washington and visit a home in West Virginia, any one of the 300,000 people victims of a chemical spill that has left them without clean water, and settle in and quench her thirst with a glass of water. And then with the hours she has left on this earth, write a glowing tribute to the entrepreneur spirit of the billionaire Koch brothers whose company Freedom Industries (as in freedom to do what I please with no fear of punishment) is responsible for the poison in the water, and with a massive propaganda campaign, responsible for poison in our brains. For these crimes our government pays these model citizens subsidies to the tune of $88 million a year.