Hillary Clinton’s Remarkably Aggressive Anti-Trump Speech, Annotated
By Peter Holley and Amber Phillips
May 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM
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And by the way, we were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice.
But heres what I want you to know. We got through that tumultuous time, and once again began to thrive as our society changed laws and opened the circle of opportunity and rights wider and wider for more Americans. We revved up the engines of innovation and imagination. We turned back a tide of intolerance and embraced inclusion. The we who did those things were more than those in power who wanted to change course. It was millions of ordinary citizens, especially young people, who voted, marched, and organized.
Now, of course today has some important differences. The advance of technology, the impact of the internet, our fragmented media landscape, make it easier than ever to splinter ourselves into echo chambers. We can shut out contrary voices, avoid ever questioning our basic assumptions. Extreme views are given powerful microphones. Leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism have tools at their disposal that were unimaginable when I graduated.
And heres what that means to you, the Class of 2017. You are graduating at a time when there is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason. Just log on to social media for ten seconds. It will hit you right in the face. People denying science, concocting elaborate, hurtful conspiracy theories about child-abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors, drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor, turning neighbor against neighbor and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity. Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes, like the size of crowds, and then defending themselves by talking about quote-unquote alternative facts.
But this is serious business. Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington. It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us, the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hard-working people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle class life. It grossly under-funds public education, mental health, and efforts even to combat the opioid epidemic. And in reversing our commitment to fight climate change, it puts the future of our nation and our world at risk. And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Lets call it what it is. Its a con. They dont even try to hide it.
Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, well never solve them. It matters because it undermines confidence in government as a whole, which in turn breeds more cynicism and anger. But it also matters because our country, like this College, was founded on the principles of the Enlightenmentin particular, the belief that people, you and I, possess the capacity for reason and critical thinking, and that free and open debate is the lifeblood of a democracy. Not only Wellesley, but the entire American university systemthe envy of the worldwas founded on those fundamental ideals. We should not abandon them; we should revere them. We should aspire to them every single day, in everything we do.
And theres something else. As the history majors among you here today know all too well, when people in power invent their own facts, and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society. That is not hyperbole. It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. They attempt to control realitynot just our laws and rights and our budgets, but our thoughts and beliefs.
Right now, some of you might wonder, well why am I telling you all this? You dont own a cable news network. You dont control the Facebook algorithm. You arent a member of Congressyet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of Americaindeed, the future of the worlddepends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didnt create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.
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