You know, I’ve been listening to analysts all day twisting and turning as they try to find trivial reasons for the result of the Irish presidential election. Perhaps the explanation is quite simply encouraging for those who wish that people voted in support of arguments, ideas, political perspectives, ideologies rather than the gossipy nonsense that journalists go on with.
Look at it this way: By last weekend more people had opted to support Seán Gallagher’s liberal, business approach than Michael D. Higgins’s socialist approach but then during a televised political debate, a value deeper than a political perspective intruded.
Now that I think about it, this is how I, a socialist, decide my candidate preferences and why should someone who might be my polar opposite behave any differently? You see, there are issues which take precedence over voting either left or right. My first test is political murder; its apologists are least preferable of all. My next test is honesty and integrity and candidates who fail this test rate above apologists for murder but no higher. My next test places those too trivial to be considered in a real political choice. Finally, I choose the left candidate over the right wing candidate.
Think about a right-winger who accepts Seán Gallagher’s political argument. That person very likely values honesty and integrity more than the liberal business perspective. Now, he or she sees Seán Gallagher fail this test while polling suggests that the Christian Democrat, Gay Mitchell, has little support and will not figure in the outcome. There really is nothing to do but cross from right to left in order to vote for honesty and integrity.