David Norris is in for a bumpy ride
8 July, 2011
If David Norris does succeed in being nominated to run for President of Ireland, he can expect a great deal of focus on two aspects of his personality.
The first, his homosexuality, is of course a matter of great interest and debate. Ultimately, I don’t see a problem here, unless there is highly unusual stuff in his past life which has yet to surface, and which would be used in an attempt to derail his campaign. There would be some protocol issues if President Norris started a new relationship or particularly if he concluded a “gay marriage”, but these protocol issues have to be worked out sometime, somewhere, so why not now, for an Irish President?
There might be some difficulties if President Norris needed to represent Ireland vis-a-vis Middle Eastern or Muslim states, and it is said that he would not be welcome in many such countries. This could be a problem insofar as the President needs to be a trade ambassador for Ireland (as well as every other type of ambassador) and some of these countries are important actual or potential customers. My first reaction to this is to say that we shouldn’t let oppressive tyrants with medieval mindsets dictate who can be our elected President. But my second reaction is that we are a small country that is highly dependent on trade for our survival, and perhaps it would be better to let bigger and stronger countries fight this battle first?
The second aspect of Norris’ personality that will get a lot of attention, and the one that worries me more, is that he has a history of intemperate statements on various subjects, particularly the Middle East conflict.
For instance, in a 2006 Senate debate on the Palestinian conflict he said: “I know the level of degradation to which the Israeli Government is trying to drive these people by destroying sewerage facilities, water supplies and health clinics through measures such as planning permissions and judicial restrictions in an area over which it has no legitimate control. However, nobody in Europe utters a squeak. Why is this happening? It is because of the dark shadow of the criminal regime entrenched in Washington which has spread its plague all over the world, tearing up the Geneva Convention, rubbishing human rights and claiming might is right. Of course, we lickspittle to that regime because we only have dollar signs in our eyes.”
Whatever one thinks of the US during the George W. Bush era, it is bonkers to call it a “criminal regime entrenched in Washington” and Norris will have plenty of time to regret this and other over-the-top statements.
The bottom line is that I don’t see David Norris as a suitable President for Ireland, not because he is gay, but because he is a volatile attention-seeker who will cause us no end of problems.