Indiana Daily Student

Olympic Election

Late last month the Olympics began, captivating the attention of not only the country but the world.

All eyes focused on medal counts, top competitors and a hunt for the sporting world’s best hardware.

Now, however, the medals have been given, the winners have been crowned and the records have been broken.
 
As the Olympics wound down last week, a new story appeared on the forefront of most news outlets: Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his
running mate.

It wasn’t official for longer than 15 minutes before the social media world exploded with critiques, comments and justifications of the decision.

The liberals slammed Ryan for his economic stances.

The conservatives praised his integrity.

Whoever put together the Olympic and electoral calendars must have been pretty savvy to put them in the same year. Every four years, our country is both brought together and decisively divided.

The extreme emotional draw of standing and supporting the home nation as it attempts to bring home the most medals is only paralleled by the American desire to support our views.

The desire to defend our moral ideologies and stand against those who seek to oppose them applies both in and out of the Olympic arena.

The impact both of these urges can have on the coming months of 2012 is astonishing.

Yet at the time when emotions run the most high, an important lesson can be taken away.

No matter how it might be executed, every single person who runs for a political office celebrates when Michael Phelps wins gold.

Every heart swells when they see Maggie Douglas break barriers and honor her nation.
Every eye lets slip a tear with every note of the national anthem that is played as top athletes represent this nation, the leader in the world of sports and beyond.

It is true when people say the Olympics transcend sports.

Just as the 1980 Olympics were an opportunity to feel tension between Russians and Americans as the Cold War raged outside, we have domestic conflicts we can see reflected in the reactions of citizens everywhere come Election Day.

Yet, again, we see those conflicts pale in comparison to the joys we feel when we come together to support our country.

It is a natural part of an election season to see tensions rise and debates ravage the political landscape.

But as those ideas clash, remember the way it felt to see the American flag pinned on the shirts of every athlete who represented this country.

Whether it is a track jacket or a suit lapel, representing those stars and stripes is the highest calling we, as Americans, can feel.

­— azoot@indiana.edu

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