It’s one of life’s great ironies that democracy brings out the worst in people.
Credit, then, to independent candidate Seán Gallagher for his actions in this presidential race.
Safe in the knowledge that he has the support of the four councils he needs to get on that ballot paper, he has graciously requested that other councils find other candidates to support.
Rather than fear the democratic process, Gallagher has embraced it fully, even though he knows that his actions will benefit those ahead of him in the polls. That is the action of a true democrat.
Not so Mary Davis, who continues to collect councils as if they were houses and hotels on a Monopoly board.
Unlike Gallagher, she appears to be gripped by fear at the thought of Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallon entering the race; as well she should, with such petty behaviour.
But as usual it is Fianna Fáil that epitomise all that is worst in modern Irish politics.
Beaten almost to political death in the last general election, they lack the courage and backbone to field a candidate of their own, despite there being plenty of party lambs ready for the slaughter.
But as if that wasn’t bad enough, they lack the moral courage to allow their members of parliament to support another candidate.
Let there be no doubt; in a campaign where the general public has clamoured for an open race and where many of the most popular independent candidates need Oireachtas support to get their names on the ballot paper, Fianna Fáil has petulantly turned its back on Irish voters. And not for the first time.
For this is their revenge on the Irish electorate for their terminal decline – spurned by the voters and under the leadership of a political lemming, their revenge can never again come at the ballot box.
So they extract it on the ballot paper instead.
This is why Fianna Fáil, like the (un)Democratic Left and the (not-so) Progressive Democrats represent the past in Irish politics.
This is why the likes of Seán Gallagher represent the future.