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For journalists it is always easier to point to the politician with the pearly-white smile and the pithy sound-byte as the harbinger of change – they attract the cameras and the microphones and make us turn our backs on the truth. It’s like we cannot – or will not – believe that change can be brought about by ordinary people doing extraordinary things, no matter how often we see it. It’s like we need the fallacy that our leaders are somehow better than us, somehow in control to sleep safely at night, when in fact much of our insomnia and worry is their creation. My first draft of history is this: “On Friday May 25 2018, the women of Ireland repealed the Eighth Amendment.” And that’s it. It may have taken them 35 years, and in that time they were scorned and laughed at and belittled and abused, right up until Saturday morning and in some cases beyond, and yet they did it. Nothing else is relevant. Through the day I saw women, from teenagers who had just cast their first vote to political veterans who started out on this trail 35 years previously, gradually realising what they had done. One by one, it dawned on them the immense power that they now wield. They banded together, and over the weeks and months and years, they changed a country. And they’re not done yet.Amen to that. Resist the rewriting of history — this was a revolutionary moment for Ireland, and in some ways, the world.
(tags: ireland history repealthe8th abortion referenda journalism)