The longer-than-usual trek was designed by China, the host country, to draw positive attention to its growing economic and political influence in the world. Instead, the flame has drawn negative attention to China's human rights record - particularly with concern to Tibet. The torch has attracted protesters and violence in almost every major city it's passed through so far.
Perhaps it's time for the International Olympics Committee to end the resurrected tradition and simply have host countries light the flame at the games' site.
The Olympics are intended to showcase the world's best athletes in a variety of sports and to encourage good relations amongst the world's countries. The trouble is, not every country has good relations with others when the quadrennial event comes along. And the games take on overtones of political impasse.
If all the running of the Olympic Torch is going to accomplish is extend the amount of time people spend arguing those same political positions, then we shouldn't run anywhere with the flame. Put it out and wait for the games to begin. The ritual is not worth preserving.
- The Hays (Kan.) Daily News