With the kick-off of the Olympics this weekend, there have been dramatically varying reactions to the significance of the games and, in particular, how that relates to culture and politics in the United States.
One typical reaction to the Olympics is the blindly patriotic one. Many Americans have a tendency to view the Olympics as a stage for the United State to boast its supposed superiority. Of course, this is a very narrow way to view both the games and the place of the United States in the global community.
On the other hand, many Americans reject the games outright because they do not support many of the policies of the United States. They feel that the games promote nationalism and that to care about the Olympics is to demonstrate support for policies with which they disagree.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I enjoy the games as a demonstration of human accomplishment. As a nation, we should absolutely be proud of our athletes – not because they are American, but because they have worked hard to accomplish great things. To me, the Olympics are not about what country walks away with the most medals. The Olympics are a manifestation of the strength of the human spirit.