Watching the Winter Olympics has brought the issue of nationalism to the forefront of my mind. (It's also brought to mind just how amazing the physical prowess of all of these athletes really is! It would have taken me a good portion of the day to do what those cross-country skiers did in 1 hour! I digress…)
The stories of the athletes representing the red, the white, and the blue are heavily profiled in NBC's coverage, while their wins are trumpeted from the mountains, and the heartbreak of their losses resounds across the plains.
This is not to say that America is alone in her pride, in her possessiveness, in her pursuit of gold. Each population is focused on the athletes from their borders. It makes sense, right?
What does it mean though? Does it make a country better than others if their athletes earn more medals? Does it earn a nation a free pass and trip to Heaven, far away from the nearly depleted planet we call home? Does it make it harder to go to war against countries that we race alongside and against?
I'd like to see a change in consciousness, a mental shift that creates a unified planet. Where borders are disregarded, and race, nationality, color of skin and language are of no importance. Where we think of one another as neighbors, friends, and co-inhabitants of our place in space. Where no person can be "illegal" because they're from somewhere else, where resources are equitably divided, everyone has enough to eat, and we start working together to solve the environmental crisis we now find ourselves in. Where the spirit of the Olympics is not saved for two weeks every two years, but every day.
Though globalism (not to be confused with globalization) may sound like a lofty ideal, it would be foolish to treat it like a great idea that's not attainable. It must be attainable. We must start caring about every life, not just every American life. Other countries must do the same, and it has to happen soon.
In the prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We can live together as brothers, or we can die together as fools".