On the evening of March 5, anchor Liz Wahl resigned from Russia Today-America at the end of her 5 p.m. broadcast. While it's not fair to speculate that Wahl made her dramatic exit in order to score a new, and potentially higher paying, job, it is certain that her patriotic exit will likely be rewarded by American media.
Vladimir Putin posed as a protector of children, while making gay youth outcasts in their own country. The IOC posed as an organisation above politics, while unabashedly bending national politics to its commercial interests. Barack Obama posed as a defender of human rights by grappling with foreign governments, while he shied from the fight in domestic politics.
Critics claim the violence in Ukraine has 'cast a shadow' over Sochi. The shadow of death? But the media has already cast one of those, with its endless probing of accidental deaths of athletes in training and competition, or the deaths of athletes' loved ones, or athletes' miscarriages, all to plumb the human spirit's capacity of "labouring under the shadow of death" to earn the life-choosing glory of Olympic victory. The carnage then in Ukraine doesn't cast a shadow on the Sochi Games. Instead it casts a light on something true about us, something we may already know but don't think much about, something Mark Twain was getting at when he said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
The truth is that when it's convenient, or easy, the IOC has no problem taking action. But not wanting to test the Siberian tiger, the IOC has shown that it only has the courage to stand up for straight athletes. In the long history of the Olympic movement, Sochi will be remembered in part for the IOC's unwillingness to defend its own athletes. Its silence on their behalf will speak volumes.
While LGBT people in Canada and the United States certainly still face important struggles in attaining equal rights and protection from discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation, their peers in Russia are dealing with a dangerous erosion of their freedom and safety. Though homosexuality has not been illegal in Russia since 1993, in recent years officials have denied permits for Pride parades and intimidated and arrested LGBT activists in the country. In June of 2013, the country passed a new law stating that "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" aimed at minors was now banned.
In Canada, the vast majority of religious people and secular people support the principle that we should show great love and respect to all people, no matter race, creed, colour or sexual orientation. This is as much a part of our Canadian way of life as "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." is a part of the American way of life.
Bloopers have always been fun. A good collective laugh is a healthy thing for a society. This would be a perfect year to start the "Democracy Blooper Awards." Here are my favourite anti-democratic moments of 2012. Even at its best democracy has proven to be an out-of-control PR performance where points are given for best spin, rather than outcome.