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Should America boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics?


Billy

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Russian President Vladimir Putin just signed a law banning everything from public displays of same-sex affection to rainbow symbols – even allowing the government to arrest gay or pro-gay foreigners. Given America's evolution on marriage equality and gay rights, should the US boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia? If so, should the European Union boycott the Olympics to be held in Russia as well?

Personally I can see the two sides of this issue: the free thinking, open-minded, gay rights supporters' views and the views of the athletes- the general purpose of the Olympics. I would love to read everyone's thoughts on this before I decide for myself, since this could affect a lot more people than just myself.

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If the "gay community"--whatever that is--starts protesting everything objectionable to us, including movies, writers, and sporting events, we will come across as whiney and excitable. Think about people like that you've known and consider just how seriously we will be taken after a few of those kinds of boycotts. Wouldn't it be better to save our massed voices and actions for really important stuff? Of course, there are those among us who say that every wrong becomes important, and more so if ignored and allowed to persist. I cannot deny the importance of making right the wrongs, but I think we must first consolidate our gains, and then choose our battlegrounds very carefully.

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I cannot deny the importance of making right the wrongs, but I think we must first consolidate our gains, and then choose our battlegrounds very carefully.

You make a valid point.

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If we didn't boycott China's olympics for all their human right violations -that effet their whole population equally- it'd be kinda dumb to boycott Russia for discriminating against one minority group. Not saying what Russia's doing isn't wrong, but if you're gonna take a stand against an entire country you should do it for more than just "they don't like people like me".

Also, sorry if that came off as rude. Totally wasn't meant to be :)

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If we didn't boycott China's olympics for all their human right violations -that effet their whole population equally- it'd be kinda dumb to boycott Russia for discriminating against one minority group. Not saying what Russia's doing isn't wrong, but if you're gonna take a stand against an entire country you should do it for more than just "they don't like people like me".

What you said here makes a lot of sense.

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I like James' point. He seems to be advocating saving our voices for things that matter to us. I think we were effective in the gay marriage fight by not getting anyone too worked up, by not answering the vitriol pouring down on us with equal amounts of hatred and scorn. By being firm and steady but non-confrontational, I think we won a lot of support from the silent majority that Nixon thought liked him so much. Most people in this country seem to think things through, and aren't all that much impressed by loud outcries and violent protests. A call for a boycott would have to have some energy behind it to be effective, and would need to cause people to take sides. I don't want previously silent people having to choose sides against us just when they're coming on strong behind us. Do we want someone saying this is a fight of supporting gay rights, or athletics? No, we don't.

C

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Do we want someone saying this is a fight of supporting gay rights, or athletics? No, we don't. C

I couldn't agree more with that statement.more.

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I remember lo these many decades ago when the US boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (the conflict in which we funded the anti-Soviet forces who turned into the Taliban---ooops). Very little came out of that protest except that the athletes suffered, oh, and NBC lost a few millions dollars. Yes, Vladimir Putin is bringing Soviet repression back to Russia, but a protest would be effective only if most other nations joined in. Besides, there is still a large segment of American society that agrees with Putin on this issue. It would be more effective if more Americans agreed with us. Still, as in the Ender's Game protests, a lot of innocent people will suffer and Putin will win because he will be seen by the conservatives in Russia as standing up for family values and Russia's honor, etc. etc. I agree with the sentiment that we should pick and choose our battles. We can't win in a boycott of the Sochi Olympics. It will simply be a propaganda win for Putin and Russian Right.

I do respect the intent behind the protest, though. It shows courage and honor. We should encourage people to think of more ways to help our GLBT brothers and sisters in Russia who are being so horrendously oppressed.

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Everyone that has posted their thoughts thus far have all been of the same mind: boycotting the Olympics would be a mistake. I must say that I too lean in this direction. That being the case, I'm left wondering when is it the right battle? How do we determine what's important enough to take a stand and draw a line in the sand?

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You don't like to ask the easy ones, do you? C

LOL I do tend to ask the hard questions. If the question was easy, I probably already know the answer :)

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I think it would be better for all American athletes to attend, then when they win and give speeches, immediately denounce the Russian government for oppression against gay people. That'd be much bigger publicity than simply giving up and sitting out the Olympics (to me).

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Hey, Billy. I've tried your external link several times, and it isn't working. James

Sorry! I just signed onto the site. But.... what Camy said. :) I believe I have it fixed now.

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I think it would be better for all American athletes to attend, then when they win and give speeches, immediately denounce the Russian government for oppression against gay people. That'd be much bigger publicity than simply giving up and sitting out the Olympics (to me).

That's an excellent idea!

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Two events in Olympic history spring to mind.

220px-Carlos-Smith.jpg

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-G00630%2C_Sommerolympiade%2C_Siegerehrung_Weitsprung.jpg

If you don't recognise the second one, it's the long jump medal presentation at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin - one of four gold medals that Jesse Owens won.

I think an openly gay athlete winning a gold medal is a much better statement than a boycott. Sadly, there are still few openly gay athletes at the Olympic level of competition.

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Perhaps a boycott of the Olympics is not enough if this is how the Russians are going to respond to the gay people in their country. Putin is still a KGB minded moron who will stir up anything just to stay in power. I imagine he would enjoy another Cold War between Russia and the West. At the every least if something like this ever happens then they will be the ones standing out in the cold.

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/russia-lawmaker-wants-gays-caught-and-flogged-town-squares200613

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It's clear that everyone that has posted their view feels that a boycott would be a mistake. A reader of my story had asked me this week if I would post a link at the bottom of each chapter to a site where they have started a petition and sign it. I read up on the situation in Russian and looked back at the views of the athletes of the last boycotted Olympics. After my research, I was already leaning towards not signing a petition or posting much of anything concerning it, with my story, After listening to more experienced voices, I believe my first reaction was correct.

I know that Putin is looking for a way to bring Russia back to what his perception is of the former USSR. I really don't know of a way to stop his drive to reestablish communism there, especially if the Russian people are going to allow it. The recent attempts by Russia and China to have closer military ties are troubling, in fact, threatening. But on the subject of this forum, unless the West as a whole cuts all ties, economic and social (I'm not suggesting we cut political ties), I don't see much of a change in direction by either Russia or China.

I thank everyone for sharing their thoughts. It has been most helpful. I will note, that although I have reached a conclusion, I remain open-minded and reserve the right to change my mind. :wink:

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If you look at everything, Russia is doing the same thing America is doing.

Most of the republican party is looking back to what they perceive is a better time, the fifties where the family was strong and everything was great . And just like Russia, republican forgot it was the strict antiquated fifties that led to the free love of the sixties that led to the drug infested STD plagues of the seventies.

And just like in Amercia, where the majority is starting to see that the failure to learn from past mistakes will lead to loss of power and momentum, Russia will either change with the times or will be run over by history.

That being said, openly gay athletes or sympathetic athletes kicking there asses sends a better message.

My two cents from the back of the bus,

Jason

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It's clear that everyone that has posted their view feels that a boycott would be a mistake. A reader of my story had asked me this week if I would post a link at the bottom of each chapter to a site where they have started a petition and sign it. I read up on the situation in Russian and looked back at the views of the athletes of the last boycotted Olympics. After my research, I was already leaning towards not signing a petition or posting much of anything concerning it, with my story, After listening to more experienced voices, I believe my first reaction was correct.

I know that Putin is looking for a way to bring Russia back to what his perception is of the former USSR. I really don't know of a way to stop his drive to reestablish communism there, especially if the Russian people are going to allow it. The recent attempts by Russia and China to have closer military ties are troubling, in fact, threatening. But on the subject of this forum, unless the West as a whole cuts all ties, economic and social (I'm not suggesting we cut political ties), I don't see much of a change in direction by either Russia or China.

I thank everyone for sharing their thoughts. It has been most helpful. I will note, that although I have reached a conclusion, I remain open-minded and reserve the right to change my mind. :wink:

Good to hear :P I as well don't think we should boycott it for now at least,

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Just my cent or two, but I think when we boycott the Olympics we hurt our own athletes who have trained for years to make it to these events. Instead of punishing ourselves, why not inflict monetary punishments... stop selling them stuff.

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