PINERO: An Olympic blow to Trumps campaign narrative

Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters
Flagbearer Michael Phelps leads athletes fromthe United States of Americain the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The grandeur of the opening ceremony of the Olympics is an inspiring and beautiful event. As the athletes for the different countries walk, it is clear that few countries have the diversity of the American athletes. Various countries walk by with homogeneous athletes, and then the United States shows up with a variety of races and cultures, united as Americans. It is stunning, delightful, and fills me with pride as I watch. These Olympics will be devastating to Donald Trump’s campaign for president.Trump’s campaign is based on the concept of making America great again. That greatness is purportedly the America from the 1950s, maybe the 1960s. While his supporters would likely deny that it has anything to do with the segregation and dominance of one race over all the others during that time period, I’m not buying it. Trump’s narrative implicitly, and sometimes directly, places the blame of America’s supposed downfall on increasing diversity. If you do not sense the attacks on America’s diversity coming from his camp, you have not been paying attention. His attacks on Mexicans, Muslims, the Chinese, the federal judge, and the Khans, among other statements, are about how the influx of different races and cultures into the U.S. somehow diminishes us.The Olympic games wreck Trumps’ narrative. We never win anymore?Not only is the United States currently dominating the medal count at the Olympics, at the time of this writing 100 medals to China’s 61, but it is our diversity that is enabling this blowout. Having racial and cultural diversity means that the pool of athletes has different body types, backgrounds, and interests. Does a sport require a really tall, thin athlete? We have that. How about a little tiny person? Take your pick; we have all different sizes and builds. Do you need someone who grew up working on archery? How about crew? Judo? Ping pong? We have all of those, because the world’s sports, hobbies, food, pastimes, and languages are here. As Lionel Ritchie said, we are the world. Our freedoms, immigration policies, and diversity attract better athletes and trainers.It is difficult not to feel a sense of pride watching these Olympic athletes win. While my sense of pride in the opening ceremony was based on the diversity of the athletes coming from America, this sense of pride is not based on the race or culture of the competitor. It is pride for America those athletes inspire, no matter their race or culture. We all feel it, and it is an invalidation of Trump’s narrative of impending doom.Crime is down nationally, the economy is doing better, and the country is better off than it was eight years ago. Trump’s narrative panders to the feelings of marginalized blue-collar white males. Those feelings are likely softened in all but the most hard core by the sense of unity and pride engendered by the Olympic games. Trump will have to change his narrative to reach the majority that he would need to secure the presidency. He is wrong. We are not made weak because of our diversity, it is our greatest strength.Samuel Piñero is an attorney practicing law in Raleigh.