The two-week Olympic spectacle will leave in its wake a legacy of financial debt, deepening impoverishment, violations of civil and social rights, and a significant reinforcement of the tools and weapons of the national security state. What’s more, five weeks before the games’ opening came news of yet another Olympic spending boondoggle in the making – Intrawest Corporation, the owner of the Whistler ski resort where most of the games’ downhill events will take place, located 100 kilometres north of Vancouver, is in financial default and may require hundreds of millions of dollars of emergency bailout.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up