Russia and Equality – Lots of Thoughts

Each day I read more and more about the situation over in Russia for our LGBT brothers and sisters and their supporters.  Things are bad there and they show no sign of getting better.  This has resulted in outcries in the West as people are treated so poorly.  It has led to a campaign to get the IOC to change the Olympic games from Sochi, Russia to Vancouver, Canada.  President Obama has spoken out and said the best course of action is to show up in defiance of Russia’s laws instead and shows the example of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics showing up in defiance of Adolph Hitler.

I disagree mister President.  In 1936 we showed up to the games and while we may have embarrassed Adolph Hitler in the eyes of the allies, it only spurred Hitler to further action!  We added to an increased German economy by showing up to those games which then turned their power on the rest of the world shortly thereafter.  If we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.  What we should have learned from those games is that the world should not have shown up to the Olympics in 1936.  We should have had games for the free world elsewhere and made Germany look weak instead of strong.  Jesse Owens may have embarrassed Hitler in our minds, but he did not in the eyes of the German people, in fact, it made them angrier!

When LGBT athletes win in Sochi next year it will not prove the Russians wrong.  It will make them furious.  The attacks that are becoming prevalent there in Russia will only increase!  These people don’t think LGBT people are inferior athletes, they think they are not worthy of living.  Your thought process is completely wrong.

Countries who support equality should not be showing up to the Olympics next year. It’s time to start our own games that can show we don’t need the IOC and their cowardly stance to give our athletes a great competition.  We should not be contributing to the economy of a people so filled with hatred but should instead be spending out money elsewhere.

Elsewhere in response to the Russian stance on LGBT rights is the call to dump Soli vodka.  Dan Savage has been leading the campaign against Russian Vodka.  I completely support dumping Russian products, like I said previously we should not be supporting the economy of a country filled with so much hatred.  However, that said, Stoli is NOT Russian.  Stoli actually comes from Latvia here in the USA.  Ten years ago, Putin tried to get Stoli to be produced by the Russian government.  He claimed the SPI group stole the rights from Russia and forced the group to flee the country.  Stoli is not a Russian company and is in fact not even sold in Russia as the government controls that brand in Russia.  Russia recently sued to have the rights to Stoli here in the USA but they lost the case and Stoli remains produced by SPI in Latvia for us.

However, there are other companies closer to home we should be looking at.  We need to start petitioning NBC to not show the 2014 Olympics on TV.  I realize that this is a big thing to ask from them.  The Olympics bring a great deal of money to them and they are a struggling network already.  I also realize that if the US does still participate in the games people will want to watch our players.  So I give this alternative as a compromise if the games need to be shown.  Send less crew to Russia than you would normally for the Olympics.  Make it as scarce a crew as possible as to not support the economy there.  Do not under any circumstances show the opening or closing ceremonies which serve as advertisements for the host country.  Do not show any pre-game preparations this year.  You should not be arriving in Russia till the start of the games and should be leaving immediately after.  Russia is not a place that those who support equality should be visiting.  Instead of airing the opening and closing ceremonies air pieces highlighting the injustice that is occurring in Russia.  Make sure to keep the injustice happening there a focal point of discussions about Russia.  Don’t talk about their amazing facilities or the money spent creating them as in past years.  It should be focused only on the games and the injustice.

Ask Coca Cola and McDonald’s to drop their sponsorship of the Olympics.  Both companies are standing by the IOC and the decision to keep the games in Sochi.  Both have been LGBT allies in the past but as with any company money is more important than Human Rights.  However, we need to show that we have money too.  If they decide to continue to support the Olympics we will not support them.  No more Jack and Coke people.  If we show them that their decision to stay with the Olympics will hurt them worse in the long run then we have a chance of changing things.