I have decided to participate in the Legal Observer Program during the 2010 Winter Olympics because I believe that all of us – protesters, Olympic dissenters, police officers, security forces, and even tourists (!) – are human beings.
Protesters, who believe passionately in a cause, are mere human beings. They are sometimes tempted to let their passion turn to violence against other humans in order to uphold that cause. This is human nature.
Police officers, who are given positions of authority, are mere human beings. They are sometimes tempted to abuse their power, especially when situations are chaotic and split-second decisions are required. This, too, is human nature.
I am merely human. I cannot say what violent things I might do if I were more severely impacted by some of the issues protesters are protesting. I also cannot say how I would react if given the authority and means to use “reasonable force” to “keep the peace” in some of these tense situations.
Yes, we are all merely human, but we are also all gloriously human – glorious just for being human. So glorious, in fact, that every one of us has rights and freedoms, including the freedom to express our opinions, and the right to the security of our person.
So, in these tense and very human confrontations, I see Legal Observers as reminders of our humanity – our potential for ugliness and our potential for glory. I hope the brightly-dressed Legal Observers remind everyone on scene that we have a choice: we can get ugly, abusing our power and our freedom, or we can use both our power and our freedom wisely and peace-lovingly, even when we disagree, recognizing and upholding the rights of every human involved.