Politics Magazine

Obama Responds Well To Sochi Concerns

Posted on the 19 December 2013 by Jobsanger
Obama Responds Well To Sochi Concerns Anone with even a passing acquaintance with the news will know that the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi (Russia) are not without controversy. That's because the Russian government recently passed a law making it a criminal offense to be gay/lesbian (and could result in a fine or jail time for those who make their sexual preference public).
The Russian government has said this new law would not affect the Olympic Games, and that no athletes would be singled out for different treatment at the Olympics because of their sexual preference. But there are still concerns over what might happen if an athlete (or visitor) were to wear a pin or ribbon signifying equality for lesbians/gays while away from the Olympic venue. Could they be harassed or even arrested by a bigoted and overzealous official?
This is a legitimate concern, and I fully understand it. But some have called for the United States to boycott the Winter Games -- and I believe that would be the wrong thing to do. It would just punish American athletes, who have been training for years, by denying them their opportunity to participate in an Olympics Games (and for many this will be their only opportunity to do that). And it would do little to nothing to change the bigotry demonstrated by the Russian government. In fact, it might even give them an opportunity for more propaganda by allowing them to win more medals (medals that could have been won by American athletes).
Fortunately, President Obama knew that a boycott was the wrong thing to do and he declared early that this nation would not boycott the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. But he could not ignore the controversy. Some kind of action was required -- if for no other reason, to reassure the LGBT community that the United States government would not ignore their concerns and would stand up for their rights.
President Obama has now taken that action, and I believe his actions are appropriate for the situation. For the first time, the United States delegation will not include either the president, the first lady, or the vice-president. Instead, the delegation will be headed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The president has also named two openly homosexual Americans to be on the official U.S. delegation -- Billy Jean King, who will attend the opening ceremonies, and Hockey player Caitlin Cahow, who will attend the closing ceremonies.
I applaud the action taken by President Obama.

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