Two big debates are hitting the headlines today. Debates which, quite frankly, are extraordinary to even be having in this day and age.
The first is that New York is on the verge of becoming the sixth state in the union to legalise gay marriage. It is patently obvious that this is the right thing to do. The most secure marriages I know are same sex ones. It is not an easy path to choose and those that take it have thought through the journey with utmost care.
(In an aside, Michele Bachmann’s stance on gay marriage is one of the main reasons I cannot comprehend how she can ever be taken seriously for the GOP nomination for President. Where I come from, intolerance equals ignorance. And the President of the USA cannot be ignorant – America and the Free World deserve better than that.)
The other story hitting the headlines is the campaign to defy Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, with today being the climax of a two month online campaign. Some brave women activists who have driving licenses obtained abroad, have been getting behind the wheel in the country.
This is what the Arab Spring is. Peoples wanting for themselves liberty, equality and freedom for all. Human rights embraced not as Western ideas but as global ideals that belong to everyone.
If we in the West stick to our core democratic values at all times and do not stoop to the hypocritical behaviour that we have done in the past – from “enhanced interrogation” to propping up dictatorships – we defeat radical Islam.
There is no need for us to hand radical Islam the anti-imperialist, anti-Western PR card. For in the world of modern communication, those who quash human rights are losing control of their populations armed only with cellphone cameras and access to Facebook and YouTube.
We live in a time where thanks to technology we now are aware of universal rights. And they include the right to marry – and drive.