Olympic Lessons for Gold Medal Citizens

Medal blankWhen you watch as much Olympics coverage as I do, you can learn a lot: like the size of swimming prodigy Missy Franklin’s feet (13), the weight of the tires Ryan Lochte flips in training (850 lbs) and the secret to synchronized swimmers’ immovable hair (gelatin).

But the more I watched, the more I realized the Olympics hold plenty of valuable lessons for all of us fighting for freedom in Pennsylvania.  Below are a few tips for how you can be a gold medal citizen:

Lead with the heart: Did I watch the men’s gymnastics opening rounds because I’m enamored by a good pommel horse routine?  No, I watched because one of the gymnasts, John Orozco, while training for the Olympics, took a job working birthday parties at his training facility to help his parents pay their mortgage.  We become invested and passionate because Olympians share personal stories like this one.  The same is true when we talk about freedom and limited government.  Technical details are important, but the heart wins.

Every four years isn’t enough: I am obsessed with swimming.  Well, every four years at the Olympics.  So despite all the coverage I watch and articles I read, I’m not a very good fan. I can’t tell you who the rising stars are, what a fast 400 IM time is, or how to execute a good turn.  The same is true for political engagement.  If you only tune in every four years, your effectiveness is diminished and you miss opportunities to impact decisions that affect you the significantly, like those by your school board or local municipality.

Train like an Olympian: Ready to take it to the Olympic level?  You don’t have to hit the track or spend hours in the weight room (though you can, as I do, try to eat like the Olympians).  Keep informed of what’s going on in Pennsylvania politics, develop your understanding of economics and public policy, and brush up on the founding principles that guide us.  Call or drop by your local legislator’s office to meet them in person.  Use the hours you already spend on social media to follow liberty-loving organizations like CF and Pennsylvania politicians on Twitter.

It doesn’t take superhuman speed or agility to be an Olympic-caliber citizen, but take these tips from those gracing the podiums this week and you’ll be well on your way to the gold.