Politics, pageantry collide

Olympic opening ceremony became puzzling free ad for socialized medicine

Confronted with one of the largest television audiences in history, Olympic organizers could’ve made a statement for peace.

They chose politics instead.

We appreciate NBC Olympics host Bob Costas’ indignation at the Olympics’ bizarre decision to ignore the 40th anniversary of the 1972 terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics that killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

The conscious, unrelenting decision to dishonor the dead by refusing to acknowledge them on a milestone anniversary speaks volumes – about the continued sad state of anti-Semitism and the Olympics’ inability to rise above it.

The Olympics should not just be about athletics; they should be about world peace as well.

As much as any event, the Munich massacre was the beginning salvo in a decades-long torrent of terror by Muslim extremists against nearly the entirety of the rest of the human population. This year’s Olympics opening ceremony could have used the anniversary to make a historic, healing statement about hatred and racism and peace. Nope.

Instead, we got a peculiar bit of propaganda about the British National Health Service – socialized medicine. One sports website called it the “most political Olympics opening ceremony since Berlin 1936.”

And maybe a bit delusional too. British political commentator Iain Martin opined, “Most Britons will not accept the truth about the NHS. It is not that it produces uniformly terrible results, as its harshest critics say. The truth is that its performance, in terms of comparison with sophisticated mature economies, is middling. Yet, just as the minority of critics tend to overdo it, so its defenders sound completely barmy when they hail it as the best and the envy of the world. It isn’t. ...”

The likely effect of the ceremony, Martin laments, is that “Anyone attempting to make the system more responsive to consumer demand – to drive improvement, innovation and productivity and thus deliver better health care for patients – can forget it for another 20 years.”

Just like the Israeli athletes, one supposes.

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