By: Willie Brown
We’re a week into the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, and everyone is getting a touch of Olympic fever. Yesterday, I did something I don’t usually do. I went bar hopping and everywhere I went, folks were watching and commenting on the Games.
Watching these young people compete really is mesmerizing. Seeing swimmer Michael Phelps win his 20th gold medal is a testament to everyone’s human potential. That’s why we cheer him on.
CNN, which is usually on everywhere you go, has been replaced by NBC’s coverage of young swimmers, gymnasts, volleyball players, and track stars going for the gold—a well needed change to division in politics, and in the world in general.
And after a year full of mass shootings, excessive police brutality, unhinged racial prejudice, and unprecedented craziness on the campaign trail, the Olympics offers a refreshing sigh of relief. It offers a chance to regain the humanity that can feel so elusive.
A lot of people are embracing the Olympics, and wish the games would last beyond August 21. For a brief 3 weeks, people from every corner of the globe come together to celebrate diversity. No one is divided by race, gender, class or politics. No one has to die to prove a point. Everything is decided on the gym floor, on the track or basketball court.
The Olympics remind us of all that is good and right in our world. It represents hope in our youth and in our future. It challenges us to be the best we can be. It reminds us to take care of our own health.
It’s all about team work, unity and mutual support. Every team has to work together in order to win. And, it makes you wonder why folks can’t come together all the time.
Watching Team USA compete fills us with patriotism, a feeling that we’re all in this together. It makes us proud of where we come from. A victory for one team member is a victory for all. It is evidence that human beings are all capable of loving and supporting one another regardless of our different backgrounds. In fact, our differences are something to be celebrated.
As First Lady Michelle Obama said at the Democratic Convention, America is still the greatest nation. It is the greatest nation now and is not dependant upon any one person making it great.
The camaraderie shown by Olympic teams proves that when we are motivated enough, there is nothing we cannot achieve. Winning the “gold,” in whatever form that might take, requires us to be our personal best. It requires asking the questions: What would it take to ditch our negative views of others and give love and peace a try? What would it take to see the other person’s point of view? Are we willing to “take one for the team” so everyone can win?
We can all do a better job of embracing those who are different. In honor of the Olympics, let’s practice being better, starting now. Hugs and kisses all around.