How amazing - I didn't have any intention of watching the Olympic opening ceremonies. I've got more issues with China than I ever had with the Soviet Union of less-than-blessed memory, and I worry about the athletes in the pollution of Beijing and environs (hell, I worry about the millions and millions of folks who live every day in the pollution of Beijing and environs.) I'd more or less decided that I wasn't going to watch the Olympics, despite being an Olympics fan for as long as I can remember. I wasn't even really aware that opening ceremonies were on tonight. After realizing they were on, an impulse made me turn on the television.
I turned it on at precisely the right moment - the beginning of the entry of the athletes. I began to smile as I saw all the athletes and coaches walking in, so many of them - all of them, really - with incredibly joyous expressions on their faces. And my smile just got wider and wider.
Old and young, men and women (from countries where women are equal partners, and from those where they aren't, to put it mildly), wearing track suits, wearing stylish outfits, wearing shorts and polo shirts, wearing saris and Panama hats, wearing gaudy colors or solemn black, wearing beautiful African robes and jaunty Bermuda shorts....They came from countries that are peaceful dynamos, countries with space programs and computers in almost every home; they come from countries that are barely countries at all, countries with war and death, and corruption.
And none of that mattered. They were all here, and they were the reasons I was smiling.