To the USians reading this: the election I’m talking about is the Irish general election- GE16- on Friday. Not the Presidential election that you have in nine months. Our election campaign? Three weeks long.
With one day to go before the election, I don’t know who I want to vote for. Who not to vote for? That’s easy, in a constituency that includes the founder of Identity Ireland. It’s an easy rule of thumb: if you’re being invited to speak at Pegida rallies, you don’t get a preference.
A third easy No is Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy. I can’t conscience voting for someone whose response to being shown to be factually wrong is to buckle down, refuse to take on new information and to insult the person informing them. If he’ll behave like this with the country watching him, what’s he like working in private? Not to mention that he doesn’t seem to see the issue with heavily implying that he’s been personally giving hundreds of thousands of euro to local sports teams. Either he’s deliberately misrepresenting his actions, or else he’s trying to literally buy votes. Either way: I look for better judgement and awareness from my representatives.
My Red Line Goes Around My Own Body
Now that I’ve eliminated the easy ones, it comes to the hardest line for me to draw: no abortion referendum, no vote. If you won’t give me the right to vote for my right to choose, you don’t get my vote on Friday. To figure this one out, I went to WhichCandidate.ie, where you can select the issues that matter to you and find out whether you match up with candidates. It’s like an electoral OKCupid. You can choose which topics to answer questions on, which makes it easy to see what candidates have to say on what matters most to you. Here’s what happened when I looked specifically for abortion. 100% means they’re actually pro-choice.If a candidate matches 50%, it means they support repeal of the 8th Amendment (so some access to abortion, generally in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or threats to the life of the pregnant person. The zeroes? Entirely anti-choice and anti-abortion even in those restricted categories. Here’s what I got (for some reason Peter O’Loughlin isn’t in this list. However, he’s already out on grounds of his views on immigration, so never mind):
That cuts out all the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael candidates. Labour, the Greens and Sinn Fein are also on shaky ground. Am I comfortable giving a preference to someone simply because they wouldn’t force someone with a diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality to travel overseas and smuggle the remains of a much-wanted pregnancy home in the boot of their car? Do I really have to mark my line so low? And out of fourteen candidates, are there really only two who are openly pro-choice?
At this point I’m shaking my head sadly at the two (only two! Whatever happened to the gender quotas we heard so much about?) women standing for office. Neither of whom, it seems, trust themselves with the right to choose their own future.
More Matters of Ethics
So I try again. Looking for an excuse to have more than two possible preferences when I go to the ballot box tomorrow.
What about education? Surely more than two candidates will stand up for children’s’ right to secular public education.
WhichCandidate asked candidates two questions on this. Should schools be allowed to continue to give admission preference to children of a certain religious background? And should state-funded primary schools give children religious instruction?
I feel strongly that children have the right to be considered for admission to a public, state-funded school without suffering from religious discrimination. And that religious instruction is a private matter which all families and communities are free to provide for their children, outside of school hours. Our taxes should not go to discrimination or indoctrination.
It’s a simple question. It’s also one that goes to the heart of what kind of society we want to pass to the next generation.
I was disappointed. I went to the trouble of copying another screenshot- but you’ll have to take my word for it, since it’s almost identical to the last one.
Again, only two candidates stand against a system which segregates, discriminates against, and indoctrinates children.
Another red-line issue for me? Accepting refugees. We cannot consider ourselves an ethical society if we don’t offer refuge to people without a safe place to live their lives. This picture is slightly better. I’ve more than two candidates to choose from, so I might get to those third and fourth preferences after all. Here’s the deal:
I promised myself I’d post this before lunchtime, so at this stage I haven’t gotten to the more complex questions. What about the economy, water, health, housing, and education? Has anyone got enough on any of those issues to get past an anti-choice position? I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ll know for certain until I mark that paper tomorrow.
Even bloggers have to pay the bills! Monthly subscriptions- no matter how small- help give me the security to devote time to this place and keep a roof over my head. If you like what you read, please do help out: