Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rich Man's Games.

We had the torch come through our town on its' way to Vancouver for the Olympics. It was a very exciting day, even though I have mixed feelings concerning the grave social and financial implications the Games will have on Vancouver and the surrounding province for literally years to come. I was of two minds as I witnessed an historical event in my very own community. One part of me said, "Wow, years from now I will look back and remember the day we took our son to see the Olympic torch, the symbol of hope and unity be carried from one hand to another on to the World in Vancouver. Another part of me was disgusted by the commercialism which was blatant and omnipresent at the event. I don't know how many times I had to hear the words Coke and RBC and the name of my town interspersed in an effort to rouse the crowd into caffeine fueled hysteria in support of The Games. It felt forced and unnatural to me. I didn't wish to take away any of my son's enthusiasm with my dour expression or attitude so I did my best to contain myself and my sarcastic mouth. A few times, my husband and I looked at each other when they yelled repeatedly over the microphone, "THIS IS YOUR GAMES"! and we thought to ourselves, really? How so? In the fact that we will help to foot the colossal bill and all we get in return is a free bottle of Coke and a sticker or two? A few times while at the event I couldn't help to notice the homeless people, probably only at the event to see what could be salvaged afterward in order to make their lives a little better that day. I fail to see how littered tattoos will help them, or even free Coke for that matter. The Vanoc couldn't give away a bowl of soup on a cold day?? I saw a child who badly needed a dentist smiling with the torch and I couldn't help but think how our tax and Olympic money could be better used. Part of my new found effort toward frugality and simplicity is that I am no longer impressed by large displays of flash with little substance. Bright lights and catchy dance beats didn't distract me enough to fully support throwing a big party in these financial conditions. My son had a wonderful time at the event, and I would never begrudge him that. It's up to him to experience joy in whatever way he would like. He is five and innocent of society's ills. I do support Olympic athletes and the idea of the Games. The Olympics is a world wide tradition and I suppose we are lucky to experience the honour of hosting. I just wish we could afford it. I know that we can't, the homeless can't, the poor can't, the working poor can't, and that takes the joy out of it for me. It's a Rich Man's Games.