“It is essential that we end the double standard that exists between public and private morality. We must ask of our country what we ask of ourselves.”
– Patricia Marx Ellsberg
Last Saturday, I was thrilled to see the streets of Oakland and other cities across the world flooded with women, young families, youth, and men in solidarity – many of them having their first experiences as activists in public.
What a promising sign for the vitality of democracy and social justice! I have spent the last week reflecting on how we can continue to build a movement for peace, equity, and opportunity.
The above quote from Patricia Marx Ellsberg is a great synthesis of some of my thoughts on how to live out our activism on even our busiest days. What it says to me is that politics is personal; our daily actions with other people and ourselves should reflect our expectations for our nations, institutions, and corporations; and our own mindfulness can have a positive effect on the behavior of others and society. Political accountability is a two way street!
We should especially keep Ms. Marx Ellsberg’s words in mind when talking to or about those who don’t share our same views or opinions at present. Compassionate action, caring speech, thoughtful listening, and living our politics every day are the most effective methodologies for turning others on to efforts that grow peace, equity, and opportunity. It won’t work every time, but I’d say it’s worth a try.
The fact that the quote comes from Patricia, the wife of Daniel Ellsberg (famous journalist and whistleblower of Pentagon Papers fame), is also an important reminder that alongside many of the most influential and “newsworthy” men there are their partners who are just as wise and powerful. This gives me hope that the women in the White House, in Congress, and in communities everywhere can continue to guide our nation and world towards more humane, healthy, and heartfelt policies.