Wise Czar

Posts Tagged ‘Brazil protests

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More people attended the Chicago Blackhawks victory rally than attended the end of World War II celebration in Times Square.

Over 2 million people descended upon the Windy City this past Friday for the Chicago Blackhawk’s Stanley Cup victory rally. The downtown Loop area was a sea of red, as supporters and fans, some of whom arrived in the wee hours of the morning, came out to worship and adore their beloved hockey team.

Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away in Sao Paulo, Brazil, millions of people continue to rally in support of massive government reforms. Originally assembled in response to high transportation costs, the protests have evolved to address the lack of healthcare and education resources for many middle and lower class Brazilians.

Furthermore, Brazil will be hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and many protesters are decrying the amount of money their government is willing to spend on soccer stadiums, while millions live in neglected shanty towns, called favelas, located on the outskirts of major cities.

Comparing these two rallies side by side, a third party observer might conclude that things must be pretty great in the United States, since people can afford to rally in droves to support a group of entertainers who are paid millions of dollars to skate around and hit a puck into a net.

But things are not super great here, at least not great enough to justify being so carefree. The unemployment rate is 7.6 percent (as of May 2013), 6.5 percent of Americans do not have access to healthcare due to cost, our education system ranks 17th in the world, the national debt is rapidly approaching $17 trillion, our government is spying on us, and the list goes on and on.

Where are the droves of Americans rallying in the streets to address the issues that actually matter? With the exception of hit and miss protests held by polarizing groups like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, Americans rarely come together to voice their collective concerns about the state of the country.

Instead, the only causes that seem to bring us together revolve around pleasure and entertainment. That is fine, and there is a place for such festivities in every society. But always placing “play” over work or choosing what is “fun” over what matters is not a good long-term strategy for our country.

To put things into perspective, this Blackhawks rally brought together more people than Martin Luther King Jr’s.  March on Washington in 1963; it saw more people in attendance than the 2013 presidential inauguration; most spectacularly, it  surpassed the amount of people who gathered in Times Square, New York on the day World War II ended, which was around 2 million!

So less people turned out to celebrate the end of the most destructive war in human history than turned out to celebrate a hockey team winning a giant cup. If that doesn’t reveal that we don’t have our priorities straight, then I don’t know what does.

There is a lesson to be learned from the events in Brazil. Traditionally a soccer-obsessed nation, the Brazilians, like the Americans, often placed sports on the highest pedestal. But now, as they realize just how much the World Cup will cost to run and how lacking their country is in the areas of healthcare and education, the people have chosen to rise up and address the issues that actually impact their lives.

Back in the states, we still have not woken up. To be sure, all those millions who attended the Blackhawks rally had a great time, and no one should begrudge them. After all, it was a nice, relaxing way to end the week. But at the end of the day, most of those people have to go back to reality and face the high gas prices, the high healthcare costs, etc. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks players and owners, enriched at the fans’ expense, have no such worries because we have essentially made them demigods.

We need to get our priorities straight here, like the people have in Brazil. Life does not revolve around sports and entertainment. In ancient Rome, the rulers used to heavily promote mass entertainment for the common people. It did not take long for the Roman populace to become so obsessed with “bread and circuses,” that they paid little attention to politics or what those in power were doing. This ignorance lead only to abuse, corruption and the decline of Roman society. Let us not follow in the same path.

Sources

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/29/blackhawks-rally-2013-att_n_3522201.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/28/world/americas/brazil-protests-favelas

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/access_to_health_care.htm

http://www.ibtimes.com/us-17th-global-education-ranking-finland-south-korea-claim-top-spots-901538

Feinberg, Alexander. “All City ‘Lets Go,'” New York Times  (New York, NY), Aug 15, 1945

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