The 2012 Olympics are almost upon us. Our Olympic teams have always been a source of American pride, from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” to Mary Lou Retton in ‘84, the 1992 basketball “dream team” completely dominating the field, Dan Jansen taking a victory lap holding his baby girl in 1994, Bonnie Blair crushing the competition that same year in the 1000m event, Sarah Hughes in 2002, Michael Johnson in 1996, FloJo in 88, Marion Jones in ’00, Jackie Joyner-Kersee in ’96, Bruce Jenner, Dan O’Brien, Carl Lewis, Men’s and Women’s volleyball… the list could go on and on. Even non-competitors like Muhammad Ali lighting the flame at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta are a source of American pride. Our Olympic pride has always brought our country together to root for our team.
At the same time, we are in the midst of a highly contentious political race. Wherever you sit on the political spectrum, the current debate is hardly bringing our country together. By some measures, we are more divided than at almost any time in our modern history. And both presidential campaigns are promising withering negative ads against their opponent as the core of their advertising strategies.
The Olympics are about healthy competition. Respect for your fellow competitors. Respect for your teammates. And good sportsmanship. Because of this, we the undersigned ask that our politicians and their supporters (including PACs, SuperPACs and other special interest groups) pledge to refrain from negative campaign ads during the Olympic coverage. Vigorous debate of the issues is important to demcracy. But these ads not only tarnish the candidates. They tarnish the Olympic and American spirit.