The Presidential Referendum

I recognise this isn’t necessarily going to be the most popular viewpoint. In fact I recognise that this viewpoint might not even be shared with the other contributors to this blog.

I feel there’s a more obvious socially expected standpoint when it comes to the Marriage referendum than the Presidential one, it is after all the Same Sexier of the two debates.

I promise that was the last pun of this article.

Now that we’re closer to polling day, people seem to be finally paying attention to the fact that there are two referenda to be voted on.

While I’ve already mentioned my feelings on the subject, let me reiterate:

I think if you feel like a candidate is unsuitable, do what you do with every other candidate you feel is unsuitable and don’t vote for them.

A lot of people seem to be using the “a younger president wouldn’t be mature/experienced enough” line as a reason to vote No.

The fact is, younger candidacy doesn’t automatically equal a younger President. Currently you have to be 35 to run but our youngest presidents to take office were both 46 (Robinson and McAleese).

You’re entitled to feel a President should be older, and hence not vote for someone younger, but voting No in this referendum is vetoing any chance of a wider candidate field.

The other argument is the “boy band argument” where lowering the age of candidates will immediately transform a presidential election into a Pop Idol style popularity contest.

All credit to 1 Direction, I don’t think Niall Horan is poised to be the next President of Ireland.

More importantly, I don’t think the number of registered 1D fans outnumber the number of registered voters that wouldn’t vote for a member of a boy band.

That said, if the people of Ireland do want to vote a member of a boy band into the office of the President, then while I feel that’d be a sad day for the state of Irish politics, it would be a worse day for democracy if the people were denied the candidate they wanted despite their votes.

The people intending to vote No in this referendum, whether they realise it or not, are in my opinion using democracy to veto democracy.

Your vote is as powerful as anyone else’s. Just as a younger registered voter’s is as powerful as yours.

If you’re that worried about a younger candidate then canvass and vote against them, involve yourself in the process, don’t veto their chance to involve themselves.

A lot of us, myself included have been urging younger voters to get involved with the democratic process on the 22nd in order to show that we feel people shouldn’t be denied rights because of their sexuality.

Let’s not turn around to those same young voters two minutes later and tell them they should be denied the same rights as the rest of the electorate because of their age.

(originally posted at Blumpkine)







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