Fresh off closing ceremonies at Sochi, still smiling from the exhilaration of Canadian men and women’s hockey taking gold, I find myself pondering another Olympic moment.
The courage of Tommie Smith and John Carlos exemplifies the civil rights movement. I’m not going to explain why – take 5 minutes out of your life to watch a snapshot in time, a moment in history when Olympics’ sacred line was crossed, when damn the consequences ruled over “tow the line”. Smith and Carlos managed to define injustice without uttering a word.
I often write of protest; specifically my dismay at society’s screwed up priorities – our spoon fed, cult of celebrity, gun toting, fundamentalist, reality television, someone else’s problem world. For those too young to understand the optimism, hope and determination of people who believed they could make a difference, I wish I could roll back time. When coffee shops and campuses burst under the weight of collective purpose rather than suffocating taps of MacBook keyboards in an otherwise silent Starbucks.
This ponder isn’t about “world peace”, I’m talking about our back yards and dark alleys. Poverty, education, injustice taking place in front of our eyes – corporate greed, “stand your ground” nonsense, environmental atrocities, civil rights violations – reduced to a Tweet or cooked into poppycock by Fox News wingnuts.
This Olympic moment reminds me of a time when purpose out weighed lucrative endorsements, a time when we believed change was a matter of determination, a time when seizing Olympic glory for peaceful exclamation of injustice was not only thinkable, it was possible.