An enormous conflict between words and deeds is prevalent today: everyone talks about freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, about peace and saving the world from nuclear apocalypse; and at the same time, everyone, more or less, consciously or unconsciously, serves those values and ideals only to the extent necessary to serve himself and his "worldly" interests, personal interests, group interests, power interests, property interests, and state or great-power interests. . . . So the power structures apparently have no other choice than to sink deeper into this vicious maelstrom, and contemporary people apparently have no other choice than to wait around until the final inhibition drops away. But who should begin? Who should break this vicious circle? Responsibility cannot be preached but only borne, and the only possible place to begin is with oneself.
Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and this will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress.
Romania had been under communist rule since 1945, but it was after Ceausescu came to power in 1965 that life really began to deteriorate. . . . Then, one night in the late 1980s, a group of men dressed as street sweepers draped the statue of Lenin in Bucharest with big truck tires and set them on fire. It was a bold and daring act in a country where, it was said, for every Romanian on the street there were two secret police officers. The next morning traffic was detoured while workers from nearby factories were brought in to clean the statue with razor blades. That day I realized that change was possible.
It was thanks to women like Eppie that this moment in history could exist — a moment when a woman could be a serious contender for the presidency of the United States. In the 1970s Eppie had defied her husband by helping to found a Planned Parenthood branch in her town. She'd started a women's empowerment group before most of us even knew what empowerment meant.