Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sexual Preference: A New Olympic Sport?

 The Unites States lost a team leader this week when sexual preference became an Olympic Sport.

Still a Hero?
Peter Vidmar, Olympic gold medalist and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, voluntarily stepped down from his position as chef de mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

Vidmar, who won two gold medals at the 1984 Olympics, had been filling the liaison officer position for the American team.  His job was to assisting with the interaction between the International Olympic Committee and local Olympic organizers for the London games. He had been in the position for eight days.

His critics focused their displeasure with his selection due to Vidmar's position on Proposition 8, ballot initiative in California defining marriage as between a man and a woman." USA Today says that Vidmar "participated in two anti-gay marriage demonstrations and donated $2,000 for the successful 2008 Proposition sponsored by California voters.

"I certainly wouldn't want to be represented by someone who is anti gay marriage.” Stated Jonny Weir, Olympic Ice skater in “It isn't just about marriage; it is being allowed equal rights as Americans. The fact this man who is very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team is disgraceful."

Apparently, the attempt to keep politics and religion out of the Olympics has lost its appeal. The Olympic pendulum has swung back to justifying exclusion based on something other than sports or ability.

Vidmar stated that his resignation was in an attempt to retain focus on U.S. athletes and athletics. "I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family."

Several days before he resigned his position, Vidmar stated in the Chicago Tribune, "I fully respect the rights of everyone to have the relationships they want to have. I respect the rights of all our athletes, regardless of their race, their religion or their sexual orientation. I will cheer and do all I can, passionately, for every athlete on the U.S. Olympic team."

Mr. Vidmar gave up his position because it was bringing negative attention to U.S.Olympic movement, a passion of his for the past twenty five years. One could argue that he, knowing that his personal/political opinions would not go unnoticed being in the eye of the public, should have been more subtle in his approach in 2004. However, being in the public should not, and certainly has not kept others from stating their opinion.

Vidmar: `I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take center stage.'' Political/religious land mine avoided? Or has Mr Vidmar just been punked?

My son came home from school last week proud that he had defended his sisters honor.  Some girl at school had made fun of his sister and had called her a hateful name.  I was so proud of my son!  He stood up for what he believed was right!  He defended the defenceless and had stood-up for the underdog.  I found out later that my son had punched the kid in the nose, thrown her homework into the canal and had his friends throw food  at her and trash her lunch.  Suddenly I am in a quandary.  My daughter should not have been picked on.  And my son should not have been a bully.

The Olympics are simply reacting to the same political nightmare the country had arguable been in for the last twenty years; and just when we thought the politics of 80 (Moscow) and 84 LA) were past. They're back. The names have changed, but the topic is still in-tolerance.

The pendulum is still swinging.

Women can vote. African Americans have rights. Yesterdays communists are gone. Homosexuals are turned out to be just us. Now who are we going to pick on?

Whether or not you agree with Vidmars religious/political beliefs, His innate class and polish in focusing on the athletes; forfeiting his dream job to support his country and his religious beliefs is laudable. Blackballing, Bulling, McCarthyism are all Alive and well – only this time they are better dressed. Who throws tomorrows stones, and at whom?

We have become a nation of reactionaries. When the republican in power fails to produce, we elect his opposite. And when said opposite fails, we scream again and overreact and elect, once again, the opposite. There is no moderation, and the pendulum continues to swing. It continues to cut its swath in society, and while it does there will not ever be parity. There will continue to be an abuser and an abused.

We replace one political enemy for another. Is it time yet for someone, regardless of political position to reach out with equally bloody hands and stop the carnage.

I am not calling for a movement. I am calling for Moderate. And common sense.

I would appreciate seeing where you stand - with civility as always.