1992 USA Today Op/Ed: Olympics: proper role of nationalism

It’s a good thing that the U.S. Olympic team flag bearer did not dip Old Glory as it passed the reviewing stand during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Of course, Federal Statue Number 829 does state that, “the U.S. flag shall not be dipped to any person or any thing.”

More than this directive, our banner represents the best the USA has to offer: in business, in battle, and on the sports field.

Waving the Stars and Stripes is never out of fashion. During the Olympics, I think it is always appropriate to salute and cheer this sacred symbol.

Some dreamy-eyed liberals, still in a swoon celebrating the end of the Cold War, think we should have dipped the flag and, worse, that we should even suppress our patriotic pride during international sporting events. Through the Olympics, they say, our allegiance to something called a “new world order” ought to replace old-fashioned love of country.

Want to know just how goofy that sentiment is? Ask the newly liberated Baltic athletes to repress their ethnic pride during this first Olympic Games in a half century as a free people. Or, conversely, ask the Tibetans how they appreciate being part of the Chinese Communist delegation and not having their own historic flag.

Obviously squashing nationalistic pride would put the Olympics — and any other international sporting meet — out of business.

Personally, I hope we win the gold at every event for something more than simple athletic prowess. I want my kids to chant “We’re Number One” and feel as if they are an important part of the team just by waving the Stars and Stripes.


This column appeared in the February 10, 1992 issue of USA Today

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