Saturday, October 3, 2009
The report back from the IOC (and congrats to Rio!) is that nothing Obama could have said or done would have made Chicago more attractive. Rio had a exceedingly good point about sending the Olympics to a new continent. There is more to this than Rio's merits. The great majority of IOC members travel internationally, and comments back to the US delegation confirm that travel to the US is now a "harrowing experience" at the border for many nationalities (thanks to Boing Boing for this link).
Of all the changes in travel over the past several years, and in response to 9/11, the most impractical and counterproductive for America has been the level of harassment that foreign nationals now face to enter the US. Of course, several nations have reciprocated and so US travelers have found boarder crossings equally difficult. It is not that border security is unimportant, but it should be done with a greater economy. Instead of fingerprinting millions of travelers, we should be training border agents to be more perceptive. Keep the crossing secure, but don't make every foreign traveler feel like a criminal.
The sight of a gathering of Republican activists cheering the announcement that Chicago had lost its bid for the Olympics (assuming here that they are not closet Brazil supporters) is simply sad. It shows are complete lack of class. Makes one happy that crowd is no longer in the White House.
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/351212669/sizes/m/ stuck in customs cc license