Yes2010 part 2
I had quite the discussion with Chris the other day via twitter about pros and cons of Vancouver 2010. He had some great points.
The security of the Olympics leaves much to be desired. There's been some free speech issues. There has been a huge increase in the amount of security present in Vancouver. Both of these are valid and important concerns, but I think that it is being blown out of proportion.
I'll admit that I'm far from Vancouver right now, so I can only rely on the media outlets available to me, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like the increase of security is temporary, although the cameras are there to stay. Having less security at the games may have been a bad idea; at a World Event like the Olympics, it is difficult to err on the side of lax security. There are thousands of people from all over the world, some from countries at war; each person should be able to feel secure. And yes, the security may come at the expense of some of the freedoms of people who are at Olympic Events, but there is a simple solution - if you value your freedoms opt out of going.
We opt out of freedoms (or opt out of opting out) all the time. I went to a screening of So You Think You Can Dance Canada (feel free to judge, I don't care) and there were tons of freedoms that I gave up to enter. I wasn't allowed to wear jeans and a crappy t-shirt. I wasn't allowed to yell obscenities. I wasn't allowed to enter without a shirt. I'm allowed to do all those things - I have the rights to - but i gave them up to partake in something.
There is no theoretical difference between that and the Olympics in Vancouver. The Olympics is a spectacle that people opt into going to, and when you opt into going, then you voluntarily give up those rights. It's as easy as that.
Well, sort of. The problem lies in the fact that the scope of the Olympics is so much larger than the scope of a live studio audience television show. There are so many "gray" areas that may be Olympic locations or may not be. A significant portion of downtown Vancouver seems to qualify as an Olympic Venue, even though there aren't Olympic events scheduled there. Those areas are the areas of most concern, because the people who live there actually cannot opt out of going to events; you are, in effect, not giving those people the ability to opt out of going.
So there's a problem there. But here's a bigger problem: if the Olympics went to any other country in the world, would that country have done things better or would they have done things worse?
The Olympics are going to happen. No matter what - they make too much money to not happen. And Canada is a rich country. Canada is a great country (in my opinion, the greatest). I think that we handle these pressures better than other countries do, and not hosting the games would be saying "We don't care about the problem".
We do care about the problems, and we don't stop people from speaking up about them. And that's one of the reasons why not being allowed to have a sign up that says that the Olympics suck when you're in downtown Vancouver doesn't bother me as much as it bothers other people. We're not stifling what you have to say; we're just asking you to say it elsewhere.