A Wondrous Quartet

Women’s International League, May 1, 1922. In the public domain.*

I have often preached on the indispensability of empathy in cooperative human relationships—e.g., here and here and here. But to “make the world a better place,” as so many of us want to do, empathy is not enough. It is also essential to sympathize with individuals and groups treated inhumanely, to feel compassion for the sufferings and misfortunes of others, and to accompany those who are struggling against violence and injustice.

If we ask people with which sex they are most likely to associate these characteristics, my guess is that most of them would say “women.”

Not coincidentally, all four of the indispensables are reflected in the mission statement of the Women’s March on Washington, which led the protest movement against the Trump agenda in January. For example:

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore… We practice empathy with the intent to learn about the intersecting identities of each other….[Nonviolence] is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation…. ”

Wednesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day.  The theme this year is #BeBoldForChange. The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington are staging another series of events for Wednesday—a Day without a Woman action. Please read about the plans for that campaign, and think about how you can express empathy, sympathy, and compassion, and also accompany the protestors in words and spirit even if you will not be actively protesting, as they strive for social justice, human rights, and peace.

To read some suggestions for participation in Wednesday’s events, read this.

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6 Responses to A Wondrous Quartet

  1. LB says:

    This past election has taught me a lot. About how, in spite of our empathy, well-intentioned words and actions, we continue to vote for and promote those who support murder and war and who are bound by oath to serve the agenda of a government whose function it is to inflict social, economic and environmental injustice through state-sanctioned violence and force.

    Though some *see*, most (including many peace and social-justice activists, pacifists, Buddhists and Christians) continue to support our corrupt and oppressive system, yet fail to see the irony in their protesting the very same system (and violence) they support.

    The famous author, Leo Tolstoy, took Jesus’ message of non-violence (non-resistance to evil) to heart, became convinced it was the moral duty of Christians to live differently, speak out and **not vote or serve in office and thereby participate and condone state violence, oppression and war.** His ideas (“The Kingdom of God is Within You”) influenced people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, among others:

    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Leo_Tolstoy

    Tolstoy once wisely observed: ““Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

    Most of us don’t know or understand ourselves, our world or governments.

  2. LB says:

    Kathie ~ In addition to other *corporate* sponsorship, I wonder if you noticed the main sponsor of “International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign” is the global accounting firm of EY (Ernst and Young):

    “All over the world tax revenues are under relentless attack from a highly organized tax avoidance industry dominated by four accountancy firms: Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, and Ernst & Young (the combined gross global annual revenues of the major accountancies of the world are $95 Billion, making them the 54th largest economy in the world.) They employ thousands of individuals for the sole purpose of undermining tax laws, which does not create any social value, but enables corporations and wealthy elites to dodge corporate tax, income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NIC), Value Added Tax (VAT) and anything else that might enable governments to improve the quality of life… ”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/20/tax-free-capitalism/

    Wikipedia provides specific examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_%26_Young

    This also from EY’s website, an article touting the benefits of serving in the military:

    http://www.ey.com/us/en/newsroom/news-releases/news-ey-military-experience-gives-veterans-edge-in-workplace

    • kathiemm says:

      Dear LP: I must admit, rather shamefacedly that I did not notice that one of the corporate sponsors of “International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange campaign” is the global accounting firm of EY (Ernst and Young–and indeed, without doing some investigating I would not have known what a sinister-sounding group that appears to be.
      I am gad that you did notice and were able to share the information. It is rather chilling–especially in relation to how they present themselves, particularly in regard to gender issues:http://www.ey.com/au/en/careers/students/ey-better-begins-now-be-bold-for-change-this-international-womens-day.
      Indeed, as I review the materials I found on line for #BeBoldForChange, it sounds like one of those hard sell advertising campaigns. On the other hand, the Day Without a Woman campaign has an impressive list of endorsers.

      • LB says:

        Kathie ~ It’s hard to know who (or what) to trust sometimes. So many are adept at saying all the right things and misrepresenting their record and intentions.

        It’s also true that many legitimate organizations rely on funding from corporations whose actions have contributed to the problems they’re trying to address.

  3. Barbara says:

    I found online a copy of a letter written by a 10-year-old girl to her principal, asking to be excused from school Wednesday so that she “can participate in the Day Without Women protest. I am going to write a letter to editor, contact my congress man, and do whatever I can to make my voice heard.” She also indicated that she would talk to her teachers and get her assignments. Interestingly enough, some schools have canceled classes Wednesday following requests from teachers to have the day off to participate in International Women’s Day activities. Bravo to the 10-year-old girl for writing her letter, to her mother for sharing it, and for all those recognizing the need for women and girls to fight for their human rights. Here’s the link to the story:
    http://www.allure.com/story/little-girl-letter-to-principal-day-without-a-woman

  4. Dot Walsh says:

    What interesting comments from LB especially because my husband and I have been called in by IRS to explain our schedule c, we didn’t make enough profit they said! Of course we will appeal it and I am not concerned because there is no law regarding this issue. And then we have big money makers hiding their profits so they won’t have to pay taxes.
    International Women’s Day is still important for many reasons. One cited by Barbara in her inspiring comment. Even when there is a negative base in the process good can come out of it and many lives can be touched. I appreciate learning and being informed about corporate greed and abusive power and then to look at the little people who keep making a difference. It brings me right back to grass roots change.

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