Welcome to Sunday Morn Musings. This is my weekly free fall – writing about whatever it is that occupies the mind on a Sunday Morn. The idea of a “no topic” posting is the stepchild to a blog I used to write: Four O’Clock Thursdays which is still up there if you want to check it out – more likely, I will republish some of those posts here over time. On Sunday Morn Musings the topic may be about blogging but more than likely not.
Here in Vancouver we are in the final stages of preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Two weeks from today some medals will already have been won, more to be fought over for another two weeks. Tears of joy and tears of disappointment will be shed. I have no doubt that it will be a momentous event and plan to watch some of my favorite winter sports and cheer on the home team. Of course I’m rooting for them!
Right from the outset there was unbridled opposition to the Olympics – even before we were granted them. Mostly the opposition centered around cost: that we can not afford the Olympics; tThat they would leave the city and province mired in debt for decades to come; that the money could be better spent, for things such as health care, the homeless and the poor. Others have a problem with what they perceive to be elitism. The noise has not died down. This being a democracy the demonstrations go on. Frankly, I am sick and tired of them.
Fine! You’ve made your point! I have a point too.
On Money and Elitism.
I’m not going to get into the economic spinoffs from an event such as the Olympics. I leave that to the economists and the government. They do a much better job of it than I can ever hope to. But I have some thoughts on both money and elitism.
Money and affordability.
The first thing that comes to mind is that if societies of the past were to have built only that which was affordable then the world would be a poorer place today. So much of man made grandeur would have never been built if it was left strictly to affordability and affordability in this case often meant not just money, but manpower which was often put at significant risk.
If money and affordability were the ultimate deciding factor we would not have the Pyramids or the Sphinx, the Great Wall of China, St. Petersburg, the Taj Mahal, the Golden Gate Bridge, city of Petra, the Channel Tunnel. The list is not exhaustive. It could go on for pages.
If societies only proceeded with major projects based solely on their affordability absent would be the testament to man’s ability to create beauty, engineering feats, the power to awe and inspire future generations to greater achievements, to build a greater future on the past.
When did the word “elite” become a dirty word? Granted I did not grow up in North America but when I was growing up we looked up to the elite with admiration. We wanted to be part of that group. Some of my friends were good at sports and wanted to join the ranks of that group of elites. Some of my friends were artists and wanted to be amongst the elite in dance, music, painting. In school the smart kids were an elite group and were looked up to and more kids tried harder to get good grades. In short, to be a member of some elite group was both desirable and motivating.
You can imagine my puzzlement the first time that I heard the word “elitist” used with scorn. It was a revelation. Over the years I have come to understand the conflict with elitism in North America. It seems that the biggest objection to “elite” is that by definition it is a small group, hard to get into. Takes talent, work and perseverance and even that is no guarantee. I have seen demand of entitlement, deserved or otherwise, creeping like a slow but debilitating disease. Might be desirable certainly I don’t see it as motivating.
Personally, I like to see people rise to the top of their game, whether it is in sciences, literature or sport. I think that we as a society should acknowledge their hard work and be proud of their achievements. If the Olympics is one way to honor our athletes, good! Let them play the good game, let them enjoy that fleeting moment of glory and pride. I believe that for that one moment in time humanity as a whole is uplifted to a plane that it cannot reach but can bask in the light of possibility made real by a few of its own.
Yes. I think that sometimes you have to step up to the plate and take on a debt that has a good repayment plan and yeah, we need to champion those who can for they take us all to a higher level of our own possibilities.
Let the Games Begin!
To Your Success!