By John Eppich
The Olympics have only just begun, and already, President Donald Trump’s administration is making Americans look bad. Vice President Mike Pence has been nothing but disrespectful during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
For those who are unaware of the situation, Pence — a man who has denounced people sitting or kneeling during football games during the national anthem — not only sat down during the entire joint Korean march, but refused to talk to or even eat dinner with any other nations if North Korean delegates were in attendance.
This would not be a big deal if Pence had not walked out of an NFL game, triggered by other people using their freedom of speech rights to oppose the status of the nation. This move is extremely disrespectful to two nations who have been in constant conflict for decades finally coming together as one.
North Korea and South Korea are two very different nations, but they have both dreamed of eventually reunifying as pre-World War II era Korea. This can be seen as somewhat of a stepping stone for both nations.
The last time the two Koreas marched together was in 2007. Eleven years later, they did it again, and this time, the games are in Pyeongchang, making the whole ordeal even more symbolic.
North Korea is by far the worst country right now because they have extreme human rights abuses, their people are starving and Kim Jong Un is constantly trying to start World War III. To many people, this may be seen as Pence, and by extension Trump, showing that America will not stand for North Korea, but I honestly find that disrespectful and almost petty.
Pence and Trump both have stated that it is disrespectful to kneel during our national anthem. Would sitting during the Korea’s march, which by the way included our biggest ally South Korea, be considered rude too? By all means, Pence has his freedom of speech, but when it comes to hypocrisy like this, I do not stand for it.
People need to be consistent. Freedom of speech is not only for ideas that one agrees, but it includes every idea. It keeps our society from becoming a 1984-esque Orwellian society.
After Pence walked out on the 49ers versus Colts game, he made it clear that he believes people should stand and salute the flag for the nation’s soldiers. Sitting down during Korea’s march in the Olympics makes it seem like Pence only believes in something when it is convenient for him.
Like I said, I am not a big fan of North Korea, but I think the best way to deal with Kim Jong Un is by being the bigger country. Playing petty games like this is not going to make America look good.
America is by far the largest superpower nation with the ability to destroy North Korea in an instant, but it is best to diffuse the bomb rather than ignite it by being childish. If the world has any shot of finding peace between the two Koreas, it is best to start with all nations treating one another with respect.