The bloated mucky floods and flagellation fueled indignation that is now touring the Country criticising our Democracy can’t have been missed by anyone; certainly not by my followers and former adversaries anyway. So as a loud and rowdy advocate of active Citizenship I decided I should try to speak up for it.
If I’m the last person ye, well some of ye definitely, want’ta hear talking ’bout this, then head on over to the Joe Show for yerselves.
I know only some of what has been said and alleged about me across Broadsheet and over on the Twitter an’ what have ya since I refused to sup from the hashtag EndCorruptionNow soup bowls; don’t worry – ye’re grand, I’ve no intention ah’ going there; everyone is entitled to their opinion, and free-speech and privacy will find no louder voice than mine to defend them anyway.
Besides I’m not litigious, nor am I that fulla meself that I need to pay the legal profession to come over to my side of any argument.
How’n ever I cannot sit by and leave an accusation of fascism be poured over the right to freedom of choice our Democracy provides; who we vote for, what we do for a living, who we engage to represent us and who we vote to represent us, what we do with our own bodies, how we parent our children – this is where I’d normally say an’ whatever yer having yerself.
In a Democracy unfortunately there will be decisions made that conflict with your choice. For instance, I voted to abolish the Senate, my vote was decided because I think all Citizens should be entitled to vote in its elections.
I accepted that outcome, and even now, if I was offered a nomination into it I would say yes please and thank you. Because not only is that Democracy, it is also my right to accept or refuse. (Shameless plug fully intended btw.)
Likewise, with the people of Tipperary who make Michael Lowry a Poll-Topper, that is Democracy.
Just because we don’t like the result or we disagree with it, does not mean it is any-the-less a Democratic outcome, or that it should not be respected.
Free Speech also comes with unpleasant consequences. You will have to hear views and opinions that you don’t agree with, or that offend. That is the price you may have to pay from time-to-time in a Free Speech Democracy.
Freedom of expression is not without risk, it only comes with conditions that can be legally enforced, challenged and or upheld through our systems of regulatory control and Judicial review; and it is a right that I will stand beside anyone to defend.
One thing I have learned from Johnny Keenan that I will always be grateful for is that art can also be a form of revolution and rebellion; through artistic expression minds can be opened and great ideas germinated. Through the arts, voices can reach people and places the everyday media can’t, or just won’t.
But if we are all equally entitled to insist that Freedom of Expression and Free Speech are permanently attached to a Democracy and available for anyone to exercise, then we must accept there are all walks of life availing of our Democratic systems.
Norma Bunty Burke did exactly that and it should never be allowed said she broke or interfered with any election process, or hindered any other candidate. She broke no rules and followed the set protocols exactly. But instead of respecting her constitutional rights, those elected officials that bawdily interrupted actually denied her those rights, and whether ye like it or not, they are our rights too.
Bunty was using a simple everyday tool called satire to highlight the shabby and prejudiced voting practices of our elected representatives. The voting pacts and arrangements that have become so commonplace they have being adopted as a form of political foreplay. Our Government is currently being run by one.
This is what really denied the Irish electorate a genuine citizen candidate in the latest Presidential Election, not a satirical performance that merely exercised rights we all have.
Likewise, with equality. We all have our own things, needs and bits n’ bobs, and most likely yours are none of my business. Yet I will defend equal rights for every Citizen in this Democracy. No one should have their rights and access to anything defined by their gender, orientations, place of birth, ethnicity or County colours.
It’s the same rules for all of us, or there are none at all.
I am not pretending our Democracy is perfect, there are too many loopholes that can be manipulated; remember this little something from my old parish about Gaming the System? The thing is, the same processes and procedures are the same for everyone.
I am regularly heard saying “you have to work with what is in front of you.” So if that’s not to your tune or to your liking or to your chosen way of life, change it.
The stages to complete that last Presidential ballot sheet proved that some Citizens are savvier, better prepared and more craftily enabled – by means, or professional and political support, and a lazy mainstream of media that is undeniably and shamefully influenced; but all that does not mean Democracy did not exist.
I still have faith in the process because during those tiresome, and mostly pathetic, weeks of nomination chasing I saw someone avail of the same route all but two others on that ballot sheet did.
She wrote to the Councils herself, she got the same time allocation as the other hopefuls and used public transport to get to the various Chambers. She traveled unaccompanied, save for a wheelie bag and a white cane. She was pleasant, generous and kind to anyone and everyone she met; other candidates and their entourages, journalists and Council staff.
She didn’t ask for special treatment beyond being allowed take her questions after her presentation on one occasion; (South Dublin County Council as she had to make a train to stay ahead of bad weather.)
She was introduced like everyone else, she presented her platform, she didn’t heckle or criticize abstainers, she didn’t argue; she answered every question the Councillors put to her as best she could and invited them to ask her more, and she didn’t blame anyone for not getting a single proposer; that lady is Marie Goretti Moylan.
I had no real interest in her platform, nobody did, but she had a right to be heard and she had a right to present herself as a candidate for nomination under Bunreacht na hÉireann, and any slight or deviation from the Constitution provides legal recourse for any Citizen. Marie Goretti knew her constitutional rights and understood them and exercised them.
Too many have been allowed claim our Democracy is broken. It isn’t, our Society is broken, and we have allowed our Democracy to ignore it.
We blame it for all our problems, it has forced sides to be formed from pools of shared values and amongst friends, and it has caused enormous hurt, even heartbreak.
But all that happened because most of the systems and mechanisms built by our Democracy are still largely unknown by those that need to rely on it, or those that sought to avail of it.
To make it work for your choices, get to know it better.
This bit might not be pleasant for some, but I need to say it anyway. Democracy delivered a clear and unambiguous message to all our elected representatives; that we are a Pro-Choice country.
Therefore, every one of us, no matter what way you voted, are entitled to ask the person who has the honour of signing-in this turning point legislation on our behalf what their own position is.
That is the best example of ensuring an open and functioning Democracy that I can think of;
If anyone is wondering why now for this run again at Demrockracy’ (which is a part 1 of 3 btw) it was originally meant to be October’s Frill-Bit in the former gaff. They didn’t want it. So there ya have it. Feel free to comment etc.