Save the 8th campaign marches through Dublin: what I've learned
I try to stay neutral on the 8th Amendment debate.
Of course, I have opinions and can join in with conversations about it, but as a recent immigrant I don't see it as my place to influence the laws of the country I chose.
Even so, I try to attend as many protest marches - and Dublin loves a march - as possible because it teaches you so much. And I've learned a lot.
The first thing that surprised me is how much support Save the 8th received from people I didn't expect it from. I'm willing to bet if you spoke to half of the attendees individually, they would deny having been there. And that's a good thing.
If people have these views, they should feel entitled to share them. Even if you think it's the most abhorrent view going, a secret enemy is more dangerous than a campaigning one.
This brings me to the other end of the scale. I've noticed the Save the 8th march has attracted a lot more criticism than Thursday's Repeal the 8th. People are angry about it.
I apply the same points above. No matter how ignorant you may think those at the march are - and you can say that if you must - they should still be allowed to attend. Before people go heavy on the hypothetical circumstances, if somebody wanted to march and say something illegal, they should be allowed to say it and then all get promptly arrested.
Maybe one day my pacifism will be my downfall, but I attend marches I don't agree with all the time just to see what they're up to. If it really boils my blood, I sit at home and laugh. It doesn't bother me.
The final thing I've learned today is that numbers don't matter. The attendance of the Save the 8th march was impressive, but it was attended by people from all over Ireland. A Saturday march does not tell you the outcome of a referendum.
Keep campaigning, whatever you believe in, but try to do it in a way that will win people over.