Scully's Corner

Monday, 6 August 2012

Gay marriage

My conscience is clear and i've made my decision, whenever we are given the opportunity in referendum to vote on gay marriage i will not hesitate to put an X in the Yes box. By doing so i will feel as though i've pledged my unreserved support ,as will many, for the love two individuals have for each other by tying the knot for a very important commitment, and i do not believe i should deny them. That's what it all boils down to in my opinion, condoning love between two people whether they be hetrosexual or homosexual and wishing them, hopefully, a happy future together. Equals in the eyes of the state. Certainly my party, Fianna Fail, has done more than any other as regards pushing for various forms of gay rights legislation and the vast majority of our members are certainly proud of that achievement, as are the majority of Irish citizens. Now it's up to the present government to go one step further, and though it may pain some, i'll give them credit if they agree to a referendum during the lifetime of this government. Yet certainly and in the meantime  Ireland has come quite far since David Norris's campaign in 1988 which led to the decriminalization of homosexual activity finally in 1993, all the way to the granting civil partnerships to gay couples in 2010, opposed by only four Senators. So we've been progressive in the gay rights arena and going in the right direction. I've always felt strongly that whatever one gets up to in the privacy of his/her own bedroom is of no business of the state, and in my eyes certainly no business of individuals who are 'troubled' by their (homosexual in particular) activity. Once it's not harming anyone and once it's consensual then whatever they do or for that matter whatever anyone else does with their own bodies is of absolutely no interest to me whatsover, and shouldn't be for you.

Giving gay couples the ability to a enter a civil marriage quite simply does not bother me at all,  and i have not been convinced of why it should. That in itself is a reason that i shall vote yes. But the most pertinent question in my mind that i've asked myself was and which might have proved the biggest obstacle was, 'would allowing people of the same sex, marry, in your eyes damage the institution?'. I have to say i've answered that with a resounding no,in fact i believe allowing for a gay couples to enter a civil marriage in my mind could compliment it, ensuring that they are committed to one another for life, and surely that's a good thing for society. Yes granted that allowing for gay marriage in the eyes of the state would result in a 'redefinition of marriage' quite obviously, and that's been used by those opposing it as a bad thing, but i don't believe it necessarily is a such. Haven't we redefined things before, the world isn't going to come to end if we do, those in a traditional marriage won't be threatened by it, where's the threat?  People who already oppose gay marriage no matter if it is passed in referendum or not are not going to suddenly change what they believe marriage to be. To them marriage will always be between a man and a woman and nobody is going to force them to think otherwise, and they're perfectly entitled to believe that if that's based on the tenets of their faith, or otherwise. What they are not entitled to is to force their views upon those who do not share their biblical view, or otherwise. This is not a theocracy. The first country to allow for gay marriage was Holland in 2001, (since then over a dozen countries have recognized it), and twelve years on there has been no threat to force Churches to recognize these unions and there's no sign of that happening there or anwhere else (U.K an exception but i believe something agreed to by both sides of this debate can be arranged).I believe overall the tactic used by opponents to scare some people into believing that allowing gay marriage would inevitably lead to them having to recognise gay marriage is a rouse.The Church or any other Christian denomination or other faith, quite simply is not going to recognise gay marriage  regardless and no matter what comes down the line. This is as i see it is quite simply about offering gay couples the option to enter a civil marriage which has nothing to do with any Church. However proponents of gay marriage must not rest easy. Polls might indicate that 70%+ of the Irish public might support gay marriage but a lot of that support is soft. What they must not do is to be complacent or talk about this battle as a being as good as won, or indeed to paint all those who oppose gay marriage as angry bigots or homophobes. Not only will that hurt the cause but it's a simply lazy catergorization intent to end debate, there are genuine good  people on both sides of this debate and that must not be forgotten. What must be done is to continue to debate this issue with civility and calm, if that happens i've no doubt we'll get the right result on polling day, and as straight man i'll proudly back this particular cause. So give me the ballot paper!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

If Romney wins South Carolina it sets him up for Florida victory and the nomination.

Describing politics as sexy probably isn't appropriate. However I believe if we where to do so, American politics  fits the bill and would come out on top in that regard. What got me interested in politics at a young age in the first place, was not Irish politics, but American politics. In  my opinion there is just no comparison. Irish politics generally speaking I find quite dull, though to give it its due, it has livened up a bit in recent times. The divergance in philosophy between the GOP (Grand Old Party) more commonly known as the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in America couldn't be more stark, and I think for that reason, though there are others, American politics is quite entertaining. While the power of these two great party's might indeed be waning, with 40% of the American public describing themselves as Independent, which might indicate for the most sceptical amoung us that both party's have failed the American people, it still gives the American public a proper and clearcut choice in policy between the two. There is choice between a Republican party which wants limited government, lower taxation accompanied with social conservatism, and a Democratic Party largely not opposed to government intervention, regulation, higher taxation especially for high earners and which is accompanied with social liberalism. That in my mind is a healthy choice for the electorate. It's not wishy washy, people understand where these two different party's come from, and how one diverges from the other.

This stark choice is clear yet again this election season as the Republican primary warms up. This is certainly an election the Republican can win, and they are well aware of this. They scent blood. They are well aware of the low approval rating of the current occupant of the White House, and the fact that no President has won reelection on such a high unemployment figure. Make no mistake the GOP will  make this election a referendum on Obama and the economy. If that tactic succeeds in the General I suspect Obama will be in a weak position to counter. Yes without doubt Obama inherited an economy on its knees, replacing in my opinion one of the worst Presidents in American history, but there is only so much time in which you can blame the former administration for the current state of affairs. To blame the former administration three years into your tenure as President really does not hold water. Especially when for two years, Obama had both a Democratic majority in the House and Senate.  Yes Obama has steadied the ship, unemployment has gone down, the question is, is it by enough to satify the American public and to give him another four years. In my opinion he's done a reasonable job. I'd give him top marks on foreign policy. In fairness though I think most American's were expecting much better from him. Having said that however  i'm still of the belief that President Obama is still the favorite to win reelection, but one thing is for certain. This will turn out to be a more closly contested election than 2008.

What helps Obama too is the relatively weak Republican field. If we where to be entirely honest, the only individual who could plausibly defeat Obama in 2012, is Mitt Romney. Polls continue to support this claim. Obama would defeat every other possible candidate, whereas a Romney versus Obama matchup would practically be a statictically tie, with either one of them in with a shot of victory. While the other candidates in particular Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would rouse the Republican base, which is something Romney has very much failed to do, the Republican base won't win this election. Romney is the only Republican who could attract enough of what i'd deem centre-right Independents and even some disenchanted Reagan Democrats to vote for him, and if he could achieve that he'd win the election. The Republican base given a choice between Obama and Romney, I ultimately believe while certainly in no way comfortable with Romney as their nominee will nonetheless swallow hard and vote for him. With Iowa and New Hamshire in the bag, and a lead in South Carolina, most would have to admit that another Romney victory here will pretty much seal victory for him, even though total declared delegates would have only reached 5% of the total available at that stage. Those remaining in the field simply would struggle to be able to financially compete much longer. A South Carolina victory for Romney would guarantee a Florida win, and logically the only thing then that could really stop him is if  most of his opponents drop out of the race. Leaving either Santorum or Gingrich as the stand only candidate against Romney, would probably result in conservatives coalescing around that candidate in the hope that it would detrail Romney, which is certainly possible. In my opinion though this is Romney's to lose.