Column by Candi Vlasaty
Mitt Romney’s visit to London coincided with the opening of the Olympic games. He barely stepped off his plane before he stepped on London’s toes. He questioned whether the British were ready for the games to begin, and he commented on their lack of Olympic enthusiasm.
Were the British ready and enthusiastic? Yes. Were Mitt Romney’s comments appropriate? No. The British monarchy has been in business for a very long time, and it has done amazingly well without Mr. Romney.
As a baby-boomer American, I was amazed to re-learn how globally influential England still is. I was reminded of that when the 204 participating countries’ athletes marched through, many of which still fly the British flag because they are part of the British Commonwealth.
None of the participants in the opening ceremonies was paid. For two reasons: it was voluntary and priceless. It was a golden opportunity to represent the best and brightest of their countries’ past, present and future, as one billion people around the world watched.
I watched the opening ceremonies in humbled silence as the British people took us through centuries of their (and our) past. I felt as if I was in the midst of a music video as drums thumped from Iron Age to Industrial Age to Digital Age and then decade-by-decade. It really did have a rock-concert feel to it. I just could not discern if it was a Beatles, Pink Floyd or Queen concert. The only commentary was done by the announcers, but that was unplanned and unnecessary. The choreography of the dancers spoke volumes.
The decade-by-decade music trip also took us through a literary time warp. It was an awakening to see not only that much of our music came from England but many of our books as well. We all grew up with Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. I knew Harry Potter came from England, but the Olympics ceremony reminded me all the rest of them did, too.
Maybe that was the point. Maybe the opening ceremonies were meant to remind us of Britain’s cultural heritage and its influence.
We need to acknowledge that our one-time foe has also been our long-time ally. One can’t do that by stepping off a plane, onto their toes and then question them about their capabilities.
Mr. Romney, you had a golden opportunity to represent the best and the brightest of our country when you landed in London. You also had an opportunity via talk-show host Piers Morgan to apologize for your faux pas. You seem to have ignored both and added insult to injury when you laughed it off and said, “We shall see how it turns out” regarding their Olympic readiness and enthusiasm.
Just for the record, Mr. Romney, because of your global faux pas, we at home in America are questioning your readiness to represent us as our best and brightest. And our enthusiasm is waning as well. And we have a right to question you because we are your fellow Americans.