"..a bardy view!"

Manny Pacquiao, Gay Marriage, and US Political Agendas………..

MannyManny Pacquiao, the Pac-Man and boxer extraordinaire, is losing his revered status – not because of his stature in the ring – but because of his views on gay marriage.

I've mentioned often that sportsmen should keep their political views to themselves, but Manny has dreams of crusading endeavour outside the ring and his naivety will be his downfall (see Bardiness 26/03/2011).

Whilst he has come a cropper with his views on the Philippines Reproductive Health Bill ("If my dad and Mommy Dionesia used a condom there wouldn't be a Manny Pacquiao" which exposed him to a retort such as "If Mr and Mrs Hitler had used a condom, then there wouldn't have been an Adolph!") he is now reported to have likened gay marriage to Sodom and Gomorrah and quoted from Leviticus that "gays should be put to death." At least that's what the US newspaper National Conservative Examiner has said.

Pacquiao is in Vegas training for his next bout, which is probably the worst place to express such volatile views, particularly when surrounded by a hot bed of highly aggressive and sensationally led media.

Indeed, it wasn't Pacquiao who quoted from Leviticus, it was the aforesaid rag which conveniently paraphrased him, and presumed that their readers were so ignorant that they could get away with passing "gay" as a word written in the King James Bible.

Putting aside Pacquiao’s views for a moment, the King James Bible for prose, poetic language and brilliant use of English is as great as the works of Shakespeare, and is justly recognised as a ground breaking definitive accomplishment. It has stood the test of time, yet like all great works it can be tailored, manipulated, and exploited to suit an agenda. "Gay" as far as I'm aware is not in the King James Bible, and if it is, then the 17th century compilers commission by James I of England would have used it in a very different context.

Whether you agree or disagree with Pacquiao on his views of gay marriage, the gay lobby in the US is vociferous, with petitions calling for his sponsors to disassociate themselves from him. They are empowered by a new advocate in the presence of Barak Obama. His rival for the presidency Mitt Romney is pinning his own views to the mast "the only marriage is between a man and a woman" he proclaims. Obama relies on the cosmopolitan voters of east and west coast America and Romney relies on the heartlands and conservative bible-thumping belts in the middle.

This will be an interesting election. Both candidates are pitching for the hearts and minds of America, but the problem Romney has is that his core voters are likely in the minority. America is changing, indeed a recent report in the New York Times states that for the first time combined ethnic minorities are now in the majority over whites, and that 50,000 Latinos reach voting age every month.

Whilst Hispanics are not renowned for exercising their vote, those that do will more likely vote for Obama. Those born today will be a major force in 2030 when they get to the ballot box, so unless the US grasps the nettle and ensures they have a sense of identity and a sense of worth, through education and opportunity, embracing their nation's heritage, then the demographic will be severely influential for any future US presidential candidate.

This is the problem which the right of centre Republicans and neo-cons have, and if they miss this one, then the political landscape in the not too distant future could be their swansong. Into this maelstrom enters Manny Pacquiao, a simple yet gifted boxer, but way out of his depth.

Mohammad Ali could get away with it because he was articulate, intelligent and charismatic. Pacquiao, for all his naive honesty, is sadly none of these, and put into context he is a fish out of water, or at best a minnow in a sea of sharks.

How is his stance at home regarded? Do Filipinos agree or disagree with him? When (if) he meets his arch rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr, will his fans desert him? Highly unlikely.

At least with Mayweather Jr you get what you see. If Floyd said that there were little green men on Mars, few would be bothered. If however he commented on gay marriage, then that would open him up to even more ridicule than that which he commands now. Indeed, the chances of Mayweather Jr commenting on political issues are as remote as finding those little green extra-terrestrials.

This is a man who has given a new meaning to obnoxiousness and wanton extravagance, who spends money like water and carries wads of greenbacks in a rucksack even when he visits the bathroom from his bedroom. No we don't expect words of wisdom from Floyd. He's just a successful boxer with bling, a poor pugilist, and he knows his place. Pacquiao on the other hand, although intellectually challenged, has a conscience. He has honourable intentions, and he is aware of the plight of many of his countrymen.

He's very wealthy, but that affluence does not appear to stretch to a press agent who could screen his pontification and prevent him from sounding foolish. Opinions are one thing, expressing them to the world and his dog is another matter.

Let the politicos spar in the political ring. My advice to Manny Pacquiao is keep your mouth closed, your gloves on, keep your guard up and do what you do best. Retire gracefully and ditch the sycophantic and exploitative political opportunists who will use and abuse you.

Form a think tank, form a charity, form a cause and fight your corner from it, because, if you end up in Philippines politics, you will eventually become corrupted. You can serve your people better by being an influential beacon of hope and opportunity, and still maintain your dignity.

This is your chance to fight outside the ring – not in it!



May 17, 2012 - Posted by | Boxing, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Politics, The Philippines, USA | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Enjoyed the read as always. Oscar Wilde would have been in his element theses days.


    Comment by Spook Moor | May 18, 2012 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: