Hannah Arendt has described eloquently how, when political action succeeds in generating real power, the participants experience a happiness different from the kind of happiness one finds in private life.
Public happiness is not isolating but shared. It is the happiness of being free among other free people, of having one’s public faith redeemed and returned, of seeing public hope becoming public power, becoming reality itself … The experience of public happiness is an exceptional one in the politics of our time, but not such a very rare exception. It has been known in many countries in this century, on every continent, in societies of every kind of political, economic and cultural configuration. It has been felt, if sometimes only momentarily, everywhere, and therefore it is possible everywhere.
Doug Lummis, quoted by Alexander Cockburn in The Golden Age is in Us (London/New York: Verso, 1995).