– L. Arthalia Cravin
Last night I watched the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad Games. It was the first time that I watched an entire ceremony from start to finish. It was spectacular!! By the time the 4-hour ceremony ended I felt proud to be a citizen of this world. The Brits “hit it out of the park” and in the process told the world “a thing or two” about what diversity means. America, especially Mitt Romney, could learn something.
For starters, the entire ceremony was skin color, ethnicity, and gender inclusive. It was truly refreshing to see peoples of diverse skin colors and ethnicities participating in equal roles in the various program themes. It was good to see that the Brits realize that children of all nationalities and skin colors have dreams, aspirations, and hopes and that these hopes must be nurtured by the present generation. It was good to see that the Brits also understand the need for national healthcare as vital to the health of a nation. Who would have imagined hospital beds and dancing doctors and nurses in an Olympics opening ceremony? The British are proud of its National Health Care system. The British want healthy citizens.
Even Queen Elizabeth stepped away from her gilded writing desk to join “James Bond” to parachute from a helicopter (even the illusion was jaw-dropping), to participate in the ceremony. Folks, this is real royalty. Even the Queen knows how to “get down with the people.” None of this fake, Mitt and Ann Romney, wannabe aristocrats, 10 houses and a car elevator pretentious mess. I did not know until last night that it was a British computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee who invented the Internet. Berners-Lee was featured in the opening ceremony as part of the thematic chronology of Britain from an agrarian society to the technology age. The way America’s brag about being “the greatest nation on earth” you would have thought that “we” invented the internet and everything else. In 1989 Berners-Lee made a proposal for an information management system that became the World Wide Web. But even this brilliant mind needed help from others who assisted him in making the first successful communicating between the language of the computer at the time and a server. What Berners-Lee did was to invent a technology to connect people so that they could share information and knowledge—for free—it’s now called the Internet. If there ever was a gift to mankind it is the Internet. And then there is the gift to the world of English Literature. Even J. K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter books, overcame her shyness to appear in the opening ceremony reading to children. Who else on earth has sold 450 million books? No American that I know.
There was so much else to be proud of watching the opening ceremony. I was delighted to see that the International Olympics chairman included the 500 hard-hat men and women who did all the “drudge work” digging tunnels, building roads, hauling cement, and building the infrastructure for what was a jaw-dropping event. The IOC chairman made sure that those men and women were there as the Olympic torch passed through. This was truly a teachable moment for folks like Mitt Romney who keeps running around patting his own butt claiming that “I save the 2002 Utah Olympics.” In reality Romney didn’t “save anything.” There was a bribery scandal involving various IOC members that undermined the integrity of the 2002 games. What was needed was a change in personnel and Romney agreed to join. He did not go there like Superman and do anything alone. First of all he used $1.6 billion in federal money and thousands of people helped to make the event successful. Romney didn’t build one structure. He was simply a figurehead who worked with hundreds of others to shore up the potential damage done from the bribery scandal. But what did “Mitt the Twit” do—made lapel pins showing his own smiling image. Did Mitt ever ask the men and women who built the Utah roads and structures to take a bow? Did Mitt have the humility and presence of mind to do what the IOC chairman did last night to make sure that the world saw the men and women in hard-hats who did all the grub work? No wonder the British press labeled Mitt a “wazzock,” meaning a fool and a dunce.
The final aspect of the opening ceremony was truly something to behold. The Olympics flag was carried by at least two black women as it passed through and paused in front of Muhammad Ali. Even the Brits know how to recognize those who have carried the torch of human freedom—at the Olympic Games and beyond. And finally, the single Olympics torch event of re-lighting individual torches, representing future athletes, was the defining teachable moment. Even here the Brits had no trouble including a black female athlete. No anti-black woman message anywhere in the opening ceremony. This defining event was a message to the 200-plus gathered nations that we are all on this planet together, that we must see beyond our present troubles, and, as Sir Paul McCartney put it, “to make it better. The opening ceremony was truly a teachable moment on the meaning of world citizenship and the meaning of, as Sir Paul McCartney said, “Hey Jude, let’s make it better.” Hey all you Brits and Londoners, you did just that!!
Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.