International standards for "nationalism" are a one way street

© 2016 Jim Spence - Having been around 61 years now, I’ve either observed or participated in athletic contests of one sort or another for almost my entire life. Athletic contests, like music contests, chess contests, orchestra competitions, choir contests, dance contests, etc. are great character developers for young people. All around the world young people learn that life is competitive by playing games where the idea is to KEEP SCORE.

Even with all of the commercialization of the Olympics, the bottom line is the event tends to bring countries together, which explains why radical Muslim terrorists did their best to destroy the Munich games in 1972. Many forms of competition are constructed by civilized societies to bring out the best in human beings. Drawing out the best in people occurs through lengthy processes. These processes gradually produce attitudes stressing dedication to excellence through work ethic. The key to getting the most out of competition is to understand that it is the process and not the results, that produces the performance wonders.

It is interesting that Mr. Obama said recently that he really appreciated George W. Bush's silence during his administration. It is interesting only because Obama opens his yap nearly every day to criticize his successor. He shrugs off his lack of silence he admired in Bush by saying he still has "responsibilities."

More than bad-mouthing Trump, Obama lectures all Americans on the dangers of too much patriotism and nationalism. When we hear Obama pontificating on nationalism, Kristi and I are reminded of our experience at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in New York back in 2002. We watched match after match on the old Grandstand Court one day during the first week of the tournament. When an Argentinian player won a crucial point, the flag of Argentina came out and was waved relentlessly by a row of Argentinian fans who chanted in approval. Everyone thought it was cute. So cute in fact, that we all chuckled. A match later, it was a Croatian player's turn to get support from his countrymen. When he made a big shot on a critical point, the Croatian fans, who also brought their nation's flags into the arena, chanted loudly for their player. In fact, they continued to do so after every winning point late in the match. Everyone in our seating section thought the Croatian boys who were chanting were sort of cute too. As we continued to watch the matches throughout the day, we realized that very few people in our section were actually speaking English to one another. It was truly an international event that brought everyone to New York to root for their favorites from their countries. Still later in the day, a match involving an American player was played. At a critical point in this match, the American came up with a brilliant shot and took command. When he did, a half dozen American young men, seated in a single row near the top of the stadium cheered loudly, waved the stars and stripes, and chanted U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!  Immediately there was a remarkably obnoxious groan coming from the majority of fans in our section. Kristi and I looked at each other and wondered what had just happened? Here we were in New York, surrounded by international fans who thought the nationalistic chants throughout the day were "cute"......until the American fans joined in. It was then that the attitude of the international crowd shifted 180 degrees. It seems that the Americans were boorish for doing exactly the same thing as other fans.

This essence of this story is absolutely true and it is a microcosm of the world we live in today. A little good old fashioned nationalism disguised as rooting for your guys and gals in athletic competitions is fine......unless Americans do it. It is the same double standard that most of the international community applies to our relations with them. Trade is supposed to be one way.....we are supposed to yield to their way. Military obligations go one way. We protect and they enjoy the benefits of our protection. Immigration views are one way. Our borders should be open and theirs closed to whoever they say they are closed to.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans is pretty simple. Democrats don't even notice this double standard exists. Republicans do notice the one way streets and resent it. Of course I am speaking of Republican voters not elected officials. GOP voters get branded by Democrats and non-Americans as being jingoistic for their awareness of the hypocrisy. And of course, Mr. Obama epitomizes the hypocritical people from most other nations at tennis tournaments. His attitude reflects that of his mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama is a horrible self-appointed referee who would love to see America stifled and cheated in every game we play.

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