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Why we're binge-watching the Olympics this election season

Photo of the Olympic rings near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Olympic rings outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Jorge Andrade / Flickr Creative Commons 2016

Are you feeling concerned/freaked out by this election season? So are we.

Election coverage this year has shown our national discourse at new lows. Polls show that we're not the only ones who are tired of it: 6 out of 10 of us are already experiencing election fatigue, and it's only August. Which is probably why the Olympics coverage this weekend felt like a welcome diversion. We just can't get enough! 

It's not just about swimming and gymnastics and the Williams' sisters, though we could watch Team USA forever. It's also because of what the Olympics stands for on its best day: Peace, inclusion, and cooperation. The Olympics are one of the few events that push world peace to the forefront of the media stage. With such poor coverage of peace building and nonviolence routinely appearing across U.S. national media, two weeks of coverage focused on international collaboration feels surreal. This is not to say that we're ignoring the problems that perennially plague this event. Reports of state violence in Brazil's favelas in the run-up to the games and the questionable triumphalism surrounding Team Refugee are just the latest chapters in the complicated history of race, gender, and nationalism that make up today's Olympics. But every two years, the Olympics generate a unique media moment, which comes with unique opportunities. Journalists can and have used this moment to shed light on problems like the social exclusion surrounding Olympic sites, for example, or to pressure the international community to pay attention to the reasons why we have a Team Refugee, and what we can do about it. Which is the other reason why we're binge-watching the Olympics this year in particular: Not just because it's a welcome breather from this vitriolic election season, but also because it's a window onto problems AND solutions that we wouldn't otherwise get to see. It's an opportunity to take action, whether or not you have an Olympic stage from which to promote social change

Interested in taking action for peace this Olympics season? We want to make sure you have opportunities to get involved, like this action alert: See how you can help us end discrimination against immigrants in the U.S.

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