The Latest: Egypt strikes bases in Libya after Copts attack – Washington Post

By Associated Press,

CAIRO — The Latest on the attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt (all times local):

09:45 p.m.

Senior officials say Egyptian fighter jets have struck militant bases in eastern Libya in retaliation for an attack by suspected Islamic State militants that killed 28 Christians south of Cairo.

The officials said the warplanes on Friday targeted the headquarters of the Shura Council in the city of Darna, where local militias are known to be linked to al-Qaida, not the Islamic State group.

The officials spoke shortly after President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in a televised address that Egypt will strike bases where militants who wage attacks in Egypt are trained, no matter where they are.

El-Sissi also directly appealed to President Trump to lead the global war against terror.

___

09:15 p.m.

Egypt’s president says his country has struck bases in which militants who waged a deadly attack against Christians have been trained, but gave no details.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says Egypt will strike at any bases that train militants who wage attacks in Egypt, wherever they may be. He also directly appealed to President Trump to take the lead in the fight against global terror.

In a televised address just hours after at least 28 Christians were killed by suspected militants south of Cairo, el-Sissi said “I direct my appeal to President Trump: I trust you, your word and your ability to make fighting global terror your primary task.”

He also repeated calls that countries which finance, train or arm extremists be punished.

___

8:45 p.m.

The Vatican says Pope Francis is “saddened” by the “barbaric” attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt.

In a condolence message sent on Friday to the Egyptian president, Francis said he’ll continue his “intercession for peace and reconciliation” throughout Egypt.

Masked militants fired on a bus filled with Coptic Christians south of Cairo, killing at least 28 and wounding 22, the Egyptian Ministry said.

The message described Francis as being “deeply saddened to learn of the barbaric attack in central Egypt and of the tragic loss of life and injury caused by this senseless act of hatred.”

Last month’s visit by Francis to Cairo aimed in part to show support for Christians in Muslim majority Egypt. Following the visit, the Islamic State group vowed to escalate attacks against Christians.

___

6 p.m.

The United Nations Security Council is condemning “in the strongest terms” the attack in Egypt on a bus carrying Coptic Christians that left at least 28 people dead and dozens injured.

In a statement released Friday, the Council expressed its “deepest sympathy” and condolences to the families of the victims and emphasized that the perpetrators need to be brought to justice.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed “that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security,” the statement said.

___

4:30 p.m.

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group has condemned the attack that targeted a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt saying it “is a new crime added to the criminal record of a murderers’ gang.”

Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 people and wounding 22.

Hezbollah in a statement released in Beirut called for a “strong and frank stance in the face of terrorism that takes religion as a cover.”

It said such acts should be fought so that the “world does not go toward a precipice to which those criminals want to take it.”

___

4 p.m.

Israel is strongly condemning the attack by masked gunmen on a bus carrying Christians in neighboring Egypt that killed 28 people.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement Friday sending “condolences from the Israeli people to the Egyptian people and to President el-Sissi.”

It says “terrorism will be defeated quicker if all countries act together against it.”

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 and maintain close security cooperation.

The bus attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for three attacks against churches since December that left about 75 people dead. The group recently warned Egyptian Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings because it intends to carry out more attacks.

___

3:30 p.m.

The militant Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza is condemning the attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a statement Friday called the shooting “an ugly crime,” of which “the enemies of Egypt” are the only beneficiaries.

Egyptian security officials said 28 people were killed and 22 wounded in an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo earlier in the day.

The Palestinian militant group is seeking to improve relations with neighboring Egypt.

After winning legislative elections in 2006, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in bloody street battles from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the following year.

Gaza has suffered increasing hardship under Hamas’ rule, which triggered a border blockade by both Egypt and Israel.

___

03:20 p.m.

Egyptian security and medical officials say the death toll in the shooting by masked gunmen of a bus carrying Christians, many of them children, on their way to a remote desert monastery has risen to 28.

The officials say the Friday attack south of Cairo also left 22 people wounded.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The latest attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for three attacks against churches since December that left about 75 people dead. It has recently warned Egyptian Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings because it intends to carry out more attacks.

—Hamza Hendawi in Cairo.

___

1:50 p.m.

The German government is condemning the attack against a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt in which 24 people were killed and 25 wounded.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman says the news was being received with “deep sorrow,” noting that German is currently hosting a large gathering of the Protestant Church that Coptic Christians are attending too.

Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Friday that Germany “condemns in the strongest possible terms these kinds of attacks on believers” and grieves with the victims and their relatives.

Schaefer says Germany will cooperate with Egypt “to ensure that things like this don’t happen again in future.”

___

12:20 p.m.

Egyptian state TV says 23 people were killed and 25 wounded in an attack by gunmen on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo.

The report quotes local health officials as saying that the attack happened on Friday while the bus was traveling on the road to the St. Samuel Monastery in the Minya governorate, about 220 kilometers, or 140 miles, south of the Egyptian capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Here's why the FBI is likely to be interested in Jared Kushner's meeting with Russians – Washington Post

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. The Post’s Matt Zapotosky explains the development. (The Washington Post)

FBI investigators have a simple reason for believing Jared Kushner can help them determine whether President Trump’s campaign helped Russia influence the presidential election: Kushner met with senior Russians during the campaign.

And while it’s not weird for presidential campaigns to meet with foreign officials, under this context, it was.

Right around the time Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser held a meeting with the Russian ambassador to the United States last spring, the CIA director started to notice something weird: The Russians were talking about actively, aggressively trying to influence the U.S. presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

John Brennan, who was CIA director at the time, then started to notice that the Russians were reaching out to Trump campaign officials. His “radar” went off. Here’s what he told Congress in a hearing about Russian meddling on Tuesday. It’s worth reading the whole paragraph, but I’ve bolded some key points:

“Having been involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals, and they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to try to act on their behalf, either wittingly or unwittingly. And I was worried by a number of contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons. And so therefore, by the time I left office on January 20, I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion. And so, therefore, I felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues.”

In other words: When the Russians want to spy or meddle in other nation’s affairs, their go-to move is to find people from that nation to cuddle up with — or to blackmail, if it gets to that. (“Suborn” sits right in the middle of those two. It means to bribe or secretly convince someone to do something.)

Lookups for ‘suborn’ are up more than 28,000%https://t.co/rr0oyY31J2

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 23, 2017

When the director of the CIA realized that the Russians wanted to influence the U.S. election, he knew to keep an eye out for Russians reaching out to people tied to the election. And sure enough, Brennan said, Russian officials started holding meetings with members of the Trump campaign.

Michael Flynn. Kushner. Now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They all met with Russian officials at some point, and CNN and the New York Times, respectively, have reported that Sessions and Kushner did not disclose their meetings with Russians on their security-clearance forms. A security clearance is required before a person can be privy to the nation’s top secrets. Other members of Trump’s campaign already had deep ties to Russia, among them former campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Carter Page.

[How a Russia-friendly adviser found his way into the Trump campaign]

And it’s fair to say that U.S. investigators would have been very intrigued to see then-candidate Trump’s son-in-law, one of his closest advisers, receiving meetings with Russians. This is a member of Trump’s inner circle, as close as you can get without meeting with the candidate himself. Not to mention that Kushner is family. Going back to April 2016, we know Kushner met at least twice with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and a Moscow banker.


Jared Kushner attends a meeting with small-business leaders at the White House in January (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

That’s not to say meeting with the Russians equates to colluding with the Russians.

Brennan emphasized to the House Intelligence Committee: “These are contacts that might have been totally, totally innocent and benign as well as those that might have succumbed somehow to those Russian efforts.”

“Many times they know that individuals may be Russian officials,” he said later, speaking broadly about how Russians use people, “but they don’t know that there is an intelligence connection or an intelligence motive behind it.”

Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on May 23, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Brennan made clear that he had only suspected that Russians may have used or tried to use members of the Trump campaign to influence the election.

But — and this is a really key but — his suspicions were enough to refer everything he knew to the FBI.

The FBI, we know now, took Brennan’s concerns seriously. The agency is waist-deep in a months-long, mostly covert investigation of Russia meddling and whether the Trump campaign helped. And its investigation has led it to the highest ranks of the White House.

Exactly what investigators want to know from Kushner (whose lawyer said he will cooperate) isn’t clear. But why their investigation has led them to Kushner is clearer.

Given what we know about how the Russians try to use people, it makes sense that Kushner, who had several meetings with high-level Russians and is one of the president’s closest advisers, is part of this investigation.

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Why the Middle East's Christians Are Under Attack – New York Times

Mustafa Akyol

Mustafa Akyol

ISTANBUL — When Pope Francis visited Egypt last month, he called on the leaders of the Muslim world “to unmask the violence that masquerades as purported sanctity.” This was timely: Just a few weeks before, on Palm Sunday, Egypt’s Coptic Christian community had been viciously hit by suicide bombers enlisted by the so-called Islamic State. That bloody episode was just one of many instances of violence and harassment that Middle Eastern Christians have faced recently. The latest came on Friday, when gunmen attacked a convoy of Copts in Upper Egypt, leaving at least 26 people dead.

The wave of persecution is so severe that some fear it may bring about the end of Christianity in the region where it was born two millenniums ago.

Why is this taking place? And what is to be done?

Some in the West are inclined to see the problem as “Islam’s War on Christianity.” For them, a militant faith is trying to eradicate its peaceful rival, and the best response is to fight back.

The reality is much more complex. First of all, while such atrocities come from extreme groups like the Islamic State, most other Muslims — from ordinary people to mainstream religious authorities — condemn them. Some Muslims even actively try to defend Christians, like the female police officers who lost their lives during the Palm Sunday attacks, and the men and women who rushed to mosques to donate blood for the injured. Clearly, what threatens Christians is not Islam but a strain of extremism within it.

Moreover, there is something puzzling in this extremism: Islam has been the dominant religion in the Middle East for the past 14 centuries, but this level of zealotry is new. The Christian minorities that are now targeted by the Islamic State and its ilk existed under more reasonable Islamic states — including the Abbasid and Ottoman caliphates — for many centuries. The very presence of large communities of Middle Eastern Christians is a testimony to the fact that Muslims traditionally tolerated them.

As paradoxical as it may sound, the trouble of the region’s Christians began in the modern era. First, in the deadly deportation of 1915, the Ottoman government wiped out a big portion of its Armenian population — the very Armenians who had lived and flourished under the same Ottoman rule for four centuries. Throughout the next 100 years, various waves of deportation, massacre, persecution and discrimination reduced the size of Middle Eastern Christians dramatically — from 14 percent of the region’s population in 1910 to a mere 4 percent in 2010.

A part of this modern crisis was political: The fall of the pluralist Ottoman Empire gave rise to furious nationalists and paranoid nation-states that perceived minorities as suspects, if not enemies within. Christians, some of whom were leading thinkers in developing secular Arab nationalism, often found themselves branded as the fifth column of Western colonial powers. Similarly, long-established Jewish communities in the Arab world became the collateral damage of the anger at the expansionist policies of the state of Israel.

However, a part of the modern crisis was also religious — and it was rooted in the very tolerance of classical Islam. This tolerance had been based not on equality but on hierarchy. Muslims were the superior rulers, whereas non-Muslims were protected but inferior communities called “dhimmi.” The latter had to pay an extra poll tax, their temples could not be too loud and new ones were rarely permitted, and they were subject to various social limitations. And while their conversion to Islam was encouraged, conversion from Islam to the faith of dhimmi could be a capital offense.

In the Middle Ages, this hierarchal tolerance of Islam was preferable to the alternatives at the time, such as forced conversion or mass murder. However, in the modern era, equality before law became the universal norm, and that is what the religious minorities rightly began to demand. (It is notable that the Ottoman Empire, the seat of caliphate, answered these calls with the Reform Edict of 1856, declaring Christians and Jews equal citizens of the empire.)

Yet to date, most Islamists — those who see Islam as a political system — still believe that non-Muslims must remain dhimmi. They think Christians should “know their place” as second-class citizens, and if they do not, they should pay a price. This Muslim supremacist attitude, shared sometimes even by secular yet autocratic governments in the Middle East, lies beneath many acts of persecution. It also has a “true Muslims versus the heretics” version, where the former often means Sunni.

On the brighter side, there are good Islamic initiatives toward establishing a culture of equality, such as the Marrakesh Declaration of 2016, which was signed by hundreds of Muslim scholars from more than 100 countries and which called for a new jurisprudence based on “citizenship.” But much more needs to be done. Muslim leaders should also help their societies understand that minorities are not foreigners, let alone spies, but authentic, patriotic citizens of their home countries.

Concerned Westerners must understand that the problem calls for not a battle against Islam but a struggle for religious freedom. As a recent academic initiative, Under the Caesar’s Sword: The Christian Response to Persecution, put it well, religious persecution is a global problem, and Muslims and Christians sometimes find themselves as co-victims — at the hands of Chinese Communists, for example, or Hindu supremacists. Religious freedom is a fundamental right deserved by all — and therefore it must be defended for all.

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At Wellesley, Hillary Clinton Criticizes Trump and Invokes Nixon Resignation – New York Times

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Hillary Clinton never named him, but she excoriated him.

Speaking at the Wellesley College commencement on Friday, she alluded to Donald J. Trump, the man who defeated her for president, again and again. Mrs. Clinton referred to an “assault on truth and reason,” lambasted Mr. Trump’s proposed budget, and drew parallels to Richard Nixon and his ultimate fate, resignation from office under a threat of impeachment.

These days, she said, those in power are discarding reality in favor of inventing their own facts, which, she warned, could lead to the beginning of the end of a free society.

“That is not hyperbole,” she said. “It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done” — attempting to control everything from budgets to thoughts.

The graduates at Wellesley, Mrs. Clinton’s alma mater, cheered her thunderously and treated her like a returning hero, if not one who had conquered, at least one who in their eyes remained unbowed.

But she was not finished laying out her critique of the current political culture.

“There is a full-fledged assault on truth and reason,” she declared. “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.”

Pausing, she added: “Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes, like the size of crowds.”

Pointing to the administration’s proposed budget, she called it “an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us.” She said it “grossly underfunds public education, mental health and even efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.”

If the particulars of her words seemed pointed, the core of her message to the graduates was broad: Get involved and persevere. Harness your anger, she advised them. Stand up for truth and reason — not just privately, but also in public. Even run for office, she said. It may not be for everyone, she conceded, “but it’s worth it.”

She also told them that it was fine to change their minds from time to time: “Take it from me — the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.”

For Mrs. Clinton, the stage was a familiar one. She began her political career here almost a half-century ago.

“I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here,” she began, opening her speech on a somewhat wistful note.

“You may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned,” she said. “But you know what? I’m doing O.K.”

She said she had spent time with her family, taken long walks in the woods and organized her closets. “I won’t lie,” she added. “Chardonnay helped a little, too.”

She spoke under an enormous white tent as a persistent drizzle coated the lush campus, the top of Galen Stone Tower with its 32-bell carillon poking above the trees.

It is hard to imagine a more fitting place than Wellesley for Mrs. Clinton, 69, to reflect on her life’s trajectory. The college’s commencement has served as her platform twice before at major turning points in her life.

It was here in 1969 that a 21-year-old Hillary Rodham, the president of her class with a freshly minted degree in political science, was chosen by her classmates to be the first student to deliver a speech at commencement.

And in 1992, during her husband’s first campaign for president — when she raised hackles for sounding more like a running mate with opinions and ambitions than an acquiescent wife — she spoke again at the Wellesley commencement. It was a politically safe speech, in which she mused on balancing family, work and public service.

In 1969 she was more daring. She caused a stir by criticizing, however obliquely, the commencement speaker, a United States senator. Her comments landed her in Life magazine as a voice of her generation and catapulted her onto the public stage.

Today, those remarks about the commencement speaker, Senator Edward Brooke, Republican of Massachusetts, seem quaint. Yet 48 years after her graduation, her words about the idealism of a student starting college and determined to change the world seem more significant.

“We arrived not yet knowing what was not possible,” she said in 1969. “Consequently, we expected a lot.”

Now, of course, she knows what is not possible.

Mrs. Clinton has kept a low profile since her humiliating and unexpected loss for president in November. Her re-emergence onto the public stage has been slow and methodical. She delivered a political speech in March in San Francisco, in which she criticized the administration’s plans for overhauling health care and deplored the persistent indignities faced by women, and minority women in particular. She spoke in April at the Women in the World event in New York, admitting that she was devastated after her defeat and was still trying to figure out why having a female president had seemed so threatening to so many people.

In May, she announced that she would start a political action organization called Onward Together that would funnel money to groups that resist Mr. Trump’s policies.

Before Mrs. Clinton spoke on Friday, Tala Nashawati, this year’s student speaker, who is a daughter of Syrian immigrants, addressed the graduates. In homage to Mrs. Clinton, she encouraged her classmates to “break every glass ceiling that still remains.”

Correction: May 26, 2017

An earlier version of this article, and an accompanying headline and alert, misstated the circumstances surrounding Richard Nixon’s departure from the presidency. He resigned, he was not impeached.

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Coptic Christians: Islamic State's 'Favorite Prey' – New York Times

“At this rate Copts will be extinct in 100 years. They will die, leave, convert or get killed,” a friend wrote on Facebook as news broke of the latest bloody attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Less than two months ago, while attending church in Cairo on Palm Sunday, my friend told me she’d mused to herself that it was a blessing her daughter wasn’t with her: If there was a bombing, at least her child would survive. Forty-five Copts were murdered that day by the Islamic State in churches in Alexandria and Tanta. Such are the thoughts of Coptic parents in Egypt these days.

The terrorists chose today’s target well. Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery, which I visited a decade ago, is very hard to reach. One hundred and ten miles on the Cairo Luxor desert road, you make a right-hand turn and for the next 17 miles drive on an unpaved road. The single lane forces cars to drive slowly, and, as the only route leading to the monastery, the victims were guaranteed to be Copts. Friday is a day off in Egypt, and church groups regularly take trips there. Outside of a few policemen stationed out front, there is little security presence.

The terrorists waited on the road like game hunters. Coming their way were three buses, one with Sunday school children. Only three of them survived. Their victims were asked to recite the Islamic declaration of faith before being shot.

In the past few months, the Islamic State has made its intentions toward Copts well known. “Our favorite prey” they called my co-religionists in a February video. Their barbaric attacks have left more than 100 Copts dead in the last few months alone. The Northern Sinai is now “Christianfrei,” or free of Christians.

Many serious questions will be asked in the next few days. How has the Islamic State been able to build such an extensive network inside mainland Egypt? Is the Islamic State moving its operations to Egypt as it faces pressure in Iraq and Syria? And why has Egypt repeatedly failed to prevent these attacks?

All of these questions are important and require thoughtful deliberation by the Egyptian regime and its allies around the world. But these are not the questions on the minds of my Coptic friends at home. They have far more intimate concerns: Am I putting my children’s lives at risk by remaining here? Should we leave? And what country will take us?

In February 2014, I met the head of the Jewish community in Egypt, Magda Haroun. Today, she told me, there are 15 Jews left in the country, out of a population that once stood at nearly 100,000. Ms. Haroun said she was afraid the Copts would soon follow.

At the time I thought the prospect was overblown. There are millions of Copts in Egypt. Where would all of them possibly go? Surely some will remain, I reasoned. But I had left the country myself in 2009 — and so have hundreds of thousands of Copts. Even before the recent wave of attacks, Copts have been packing their bags and bidding 2,000 years of history farewell. As more find permanent homes in the West, more are able to bring relatives over. Ms. Haroun was right.

Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery — where one of the giants of the modern Coptic church, Father Matthew the Poor, was ordained in 1948 — is the only remaining monastery of 35 that once existed in the area. Copts had always been tied to Egypt, their very name derived from the Greek word for the country, Aigýptios. Despite waves of persecution at the hands of everyone from Roman and Byzantine emperors, Arab and Muslim governors, and Egypt’s modern presidents, they have refused to leave. Their country once gave refuge to the young Jesus. Where will they now find sanctuary?

In 1954 an Egyptian movie called “Hassan, Marcus and Cohen” was produced. The comedy’s title represented characters from Islam, Christianity and Judaism. In 2008, a new movie, “Hassan and Marcus” hit theaters. It warned of the growing sectarian strife between Egypt’s Christians and Muslims. Fifty years from now, it seems likely that the sequel will just be “Hasan.”

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Hillary Clinton's remarkably aggressive anti-Trump speech, annotated – Washington Post

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

It’s been 200 days, or 239,040 minutes, or 17,280,000 seconds since the presidential election. President Trump still talks a lot about it. And on Friday, Hillary Clinton may as well have been transported on a time machine back to Nov. 7, too.

Her 30-minute commencement speech Friday at Wellesley College was filled with direct burns at her 2016 opponent. Here’s the whole speech, annotated with what we found eyebrow-raising. Click the highlighted words to see the annotations.

Thanks!

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am so grateful to be here back at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s very first Commencement, and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college: what it stands for, what it has meant, and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Now I have some of my dear friends here from my class, a green class of 1969. And I assume, or at least you can tell me later, unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. [shakes head] Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the College and all who have come to celebrate this day with you, and to recognize the amazing futures that await you.

You know, four years ago, maybe a little more or a little less for some of you— I told the trustees I was sitting with, after hearing Tala’s speech, I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion. But you know, you arrived at this campus. You arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you never wavered.

[Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College]

But maybe you changed your major three times and your hairstyle twice that many. Or maybe, after your first month of classes, you made a frantic collect call (ask your parents what that was) back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here. My father said, “Okay, come home.” My mother said, “You have to stick it out.” That’s what happened to me.

But whatever your path, you dreamed big. You probably, in true Wellesley fashion, planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’ve been waiting for—and maybe dreading a little—is finally here.

As President Johnson said, I spoke at my Commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another Commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire Commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.

But here’s what helped most of all: remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This College gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my Commencement. I’d been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis, writing and editing my speech. By the time we gathered in the Academic Quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortarboard made it worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friends had asked me to do was to talk about our worries, and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them.

We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30, in large part thanks to years of heavy casualties and dishonest official statements about Vietnam, and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, would ever be treated with dignity and respect.

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.

Speaking at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 26, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton alluded to similarities between President Trump and former president Richard Nixon. (Reuters)

But here’s 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 here’s 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. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.

[Here’s what the pins that Sheriff Clarke wears actually mean]

Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll 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 Enlightenment—in 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 system—the envy of the world—was 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 there’s 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 reality—not 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 don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of Congress—yet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, first President of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it, he said: “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”
What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore—online and in person—eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a Nasty Woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of touch with real people. In other words, “sit down and shut up.” Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it. After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves, and to learn from them, so that we can have the kind of open, fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

[Hillary Clinton didn’t give her concession speech on election night. Now we see one reason why.]

Second, you learned the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free market places of ideas, embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of and antidote to a closed society, where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act. Here at Wellesley, you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. And you’ve shared your own stories. And at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that.

And let me add that your learning, listening, and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country.

Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on. Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and false information. Their economic problems and cultural anxiety must be addressed, or they will continue to sign up to be foot-soldiers in the ongoing conflict between “us” and “them.”

The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of these same people don’t want DREAMers deported their health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

And third, here at Wellesley, you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital, they only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This College has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” is as true today as it ever was. If you think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Not long ago, I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out. And, like a lot of people, they’re wondering: What do we do now?

Well I think there’s only one answer, to keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger – those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private – in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods. And do it in public—in Medium posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote, and while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election, not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to vote as well. Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one, start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything, but don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself some day. Now that’s not for everybody, I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

As Tala said, the day after the election, I did want to speak particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women, because you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course, but we also need your compassion, your curiosity, your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

Our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is, that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments for whatever reason when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it’ll help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future.

One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them. And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, and organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends.

When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.” That was true then. It’s truer today. I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later—certainly never that I would have run for the Presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling.

Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now opened. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through, to advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom.

So whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you so. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good. Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try, fail, try again, and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams.

I’m very optimistic about the future, because I think, after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you. With all my heart, I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth, be great. But first, graduate.

Congratulations!

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

MORE READING: 

Greg Gianforte’s win in Montana proves there’s no penalty in politics for media bashing

A nostalgic look back at Trump’s first trip abroad

The GOP’s newest member of Congress can’t make up his mind about whether he assaulted a reporter, or a reporter assaulted him

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Hillary Clinton's remarkably aggressive anti-Trump speech, annotated – Washington Post

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

It’s been 200 days, or 239,040 minutes, or 17,280,000 seconds since the presidential election. President Trump still talks a lot about it. And on Friday, Hillary Clinton may as well have been transported on a time machine back to Nov. 7, too.

Her 30-minute commencement speech Friday at Wellesley College was filled with direct burns at her 2016 opponent. Here’s the whole speech, annotated with what we found eyebrow-raising. Click the highlighted words to see the annotations.

Thanks!

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am so grateful to be here back at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s very first Commencement, and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college: what it stands for, what it has meant, and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Now I have some of my dear friends here from my class, a green class of 1969. And I assume, or at least you can tell me later, unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. [shakes head] Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the College and all who have come to celebrate this day with you, and to recognize the amazing futures that await you.

You know, four years ago, maybe a little more or a little less for some of you— I told the trustees I was sitting with, after hearing Tala’s speech, I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion. But you know, you arrived at this campus. You arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you never wavered.

[Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College]

But maybe you changed your major three times and your hairstyle twice that many. Or maybe, after your first month of classes, you made a frantic collect call (ask your parents what that was) back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here. My father said, “Okay, come home.” My mother said, “You have to stick it out.” That’s what happened to me.

But whatever your path, you dreamed big. You probably, in true Wellesley fashion, planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’ve been waiting for—and maybe dreading a little—is finally here.

As President Johnson said, I spoke at my Commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another Commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire Commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.

But here’s what helped most of all: remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This College gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my Commencement. I’d been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis, writing and editing my speech. By the time we gathered in the Academic Quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortarboard made it worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friends had asked me to do was to talk about our worries, and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them.

We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30, in large part thanks to years of heavy casualties and dishonest official statements about Vietnam, and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, would ever be treated with dignity and respect.

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.

Speaking at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 26, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton alluded to similarities between President Trump and former president Richard Nixon. (Reuters)

But here’s 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 here’s 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. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.

[Here’s what the pins that Sheriff Clarke wears actually mean]

Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll 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 Enlightenment—in 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 system—the envy of the world—was 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 there’s 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 reality—not 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 don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of Congress—yet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, first President of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it, he said: “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”
What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore—online and in person—eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a Nasty Woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of touch with real people. In other words, “sit down and shut up.” Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it. After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves, and to learn from them, so that we can have the kind of open, fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

[Hillary Clinton didn’t give her concession speech on election night. Now we see one reason why.]

Second, you learned the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free market places of ideas, embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of and antidote to a closed society, where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act. Here at Wellesley, you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. And you’ve shared your own stories. And at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that.

And let me add that your learning, listening, and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country.

Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on. Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and false information. Their economic problems and cultural anxiety must be addressed, or they will continue to sign up to be foot-soldiers in the ongoing conflict between “us” and “them.”

The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of these same people don’t want DREAMers deported their health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

And third, here at Wellesley, you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital, they only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This College has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” is as true today as it ever was. If you think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Not long ago, I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out. And, like a lot of people, they’re wondering: What do we do now?

Well I think there’s only one answer, to keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger – those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private – in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods. And do it in public—in Medium posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote, and while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election, not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to vote as well. Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one, start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything, but don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself some day. Now that’s not for everybody, I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

As Tala said, the day after the election, I did want to speak particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women, because you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course, but we also need your compassion, your curiosity, your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

Our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is, that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments for whatever reason when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it’ll help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future.

One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them. And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, and organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends.

When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.” That was true then. It’s truer today. I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later—certainly never that I would have run for the Presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling.

Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now opened. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through, to advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom.

So whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you so. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good. Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try, fail, try again, and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams.

I’m very optimistic about the future, because I think, after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you. With all my heart, I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth, be great. But first, graduate.

Congratulations!

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

MORE READING: 

Greg Gianforte’s win in Montana proves there’s no penalty in politics for media bashing

A nostalgic look back at Trump’s first trip abroad

The GOP’s newest member of Congress can’t make up his mind about whether he assaulted a reporter, or a reporter assaulted him

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Hillary Clinton's remarkably aggressive anti-Trump speech, annotated – Washington Post

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

It’s been 200 days, or 239,040 minutes, or 17,280,000 seconds since the presidential election. President Trump still talks a lot about it. And on Friday, Hillary Clinton may as well have been transported on a time machine back to Nov. 7, too.

Her 30-minute commencement speech Friday at Wellesley College was filled with direct burns at her 2016 opponent. Here’s the whole speech, annotated with what we found eyebrow-raising. Click the highlighted words to see the annotations.

Thanks!

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am so grateful to be here back at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s very first Commencement, and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college: what it stands for, what it has meant, and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Now I have some of my dear friends here from my class, a green class of 1969. And I assume, or at least you can tell me later, unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. [shakes head] Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the College and all who have come to celebrate this day with you, and to recognize the amazing futures that await you.

You know, four years ago, maybe a little more or a little less for some of you— I told the trustees I was sitting with, after hearing Tala’s speech, I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion. But you know, you arrived at this campus. You arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you never wavered.

[Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College]

But maybe you changed your major three times and your hairstyle twice that many. Or maybe, after your first month of classes, you made a frantic collect call (ask your parents what that was) back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here. My father said, “Okay, come home.” My mother said, “You have to stick it out.” That’s what happened to me.

But whatever your path, you dreamed big. You probably, in true Wellesley fashion, planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’ve been waiting for—and maybe dreading a little—is finally here.

As President Johnson said, I spoke at my Commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another Commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire Commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.

But here’s what helped most of all: remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This College gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my Commencement. I’d been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis, writing and editing my speech. By the time we gathered in the Academic Quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortarboard made it worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friends had asked me to do was to talk about our worries, and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them.

We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30, in large part thanks to years of heavy casualties and dishonest official statements about Vietnam, and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, would ever be treated with dignity and respect.

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.

Speaking at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 26, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton alluded to similarities between President Trump and former president Richard Nixon. (Reuters)

But here’s 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 here’s 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. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.

[Here’s what the pins that Sheriff Clarke wears actually mean]

Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll 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 Enlightenment—in 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 system—the envy of the world—was 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 there’s 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 reality—not 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 don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of Congress—yet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, first President of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it, he said: “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”
What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore—online and in person—eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a Nasty Woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of touch with real people. In other words, “sit down and shut up.” Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it. After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves, and to learn from them, so that we can have the kind of open, fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

[Hillary Clinton didn’t give her concession speech on election night. Now we see one reason why.]

Second, you learned the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free market places of ideas, embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of and antidote to a closed society, where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act. Here at Wellesley, you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. And you’ve shared your own stories. And at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that.

And let me add that your learning, listening, and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country.

Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on. Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and false information. Their economic problems and cultural anxiety must be addressed, or they will continue to sign up to be foot-soldiers in the ongoing conflict between “us” and “them.”

The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of these same people don’t want DREAMers deported their health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

And third, here at Wellesley, you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital, they only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This College has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” is as true today as it ever was. If you think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Not long ago, I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out. And, like a lot of people, they’re wondering: What do we do now?

Well I think there’s only one answer, to keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger – those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private – in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods. And do it in public—in Medium posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote, and while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election, not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to vote as well. Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one, start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything, but don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself some day. Now that’s not for everybody, I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

As Tala said, the day after the election, I did want to speak particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women, because you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course, but we also need your compassion, your curiosity, your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

Our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is, that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments for whatever reason when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it’ll help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future.

One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them. And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, and organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends.

When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.” That was true then. It’s truer today. I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later—certainly never that I would have run for the Presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling.

Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now opened. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through, to advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom.

So whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you so. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good. Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try, fail, try again, and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams.

I’m very optimistic about the future, because I think, after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you. With all my heart, I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth, be great. But first, graduate.

Congratulations!

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

MORE READING: 

Greg Gianforte’s win in Montana proves there’s no penalty in politics for media bashing

A nostalgic look back at Trump’s first trip abroad

The GOP’s newest member of Congress can’t make up his mind about whether he assaulted a reporter, or a reporter assaulted him

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Hillary Clinton's remarkably aggressive anti-Trump speech, annotated – Washington Post

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

It’s been 200 days, or 239,040 minutes, or 17,280,000 seconds since the presidential election. President Trump still talks a lot about it. And on Friday, Hillary Clinton may as well have been transported on a time machine back to Nov. 7, too.

Her 30-minute commencement speech Friday at Wellesley College was filled with direct burns at her 2016 opponent. Here’s the whole speech, annotated with what we found eyebrow-raising. Click the highlighted words to see the annotations.

Thanks!

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am so grateful to be here back at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s very first Commencement, and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college: what it stands for, what it has meant, and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Now I have some of my dear friends here from my class, a green class of 1969. And I assume, or at least you can tell me later, unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. [shakes head] Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the College and all who have come to celebrate this day with you, and to recognize the amazing futures that await you.

You know, four years ago, maybe a little more or a little less for some of you— I told the trustees I was sitting with, after hearing Tala’s speech, I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion. But you know, you arrived at this campus. You arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you never wavered.

[Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College]

But maybe you changed your major three times and your hairstyle twice that many. Or maybe, after your first month of classes, you made a frantic collect call (ask your parents what that was) back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here. My father said, “Okay, come home.” My mother said, “You have to stick it out.” That’s what happened to me.

But whatever your path, you dreamed big. You probably, in true Wellesley fashion, planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’ve been waiting for—and maybe dreading a little—is finally here.

As President Johnson said, I spoke at my Commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another Commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire Commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.

But here’s what helped most of all: remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This College gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my Commencement. I’d been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis, writing and editing my speech. By the time we gathered in the Academic Quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortarboard made it worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friends had asked me to do was to talk about our worries, and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them.

We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30, in large part thanks to years of heavy casualties and dishonest official statements about Vietnam, and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, would ever be treated with dignity and respect.

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.

Speaking at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 26, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton alluded to similarities between President Trump and former president Richard Nixon. (Reuters)

But here’s 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 here’s 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. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.

[Here’s what the pins that Sheriff Clarke wears actually mean]

Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll 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 Enlightenment—in 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 system—the envy of the world—was 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 there’s 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 reality—not 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 don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of Congress—yet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, first President of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it, he said: “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”
What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore—online and in person—eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a Nasty Woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of touch with real people. In other words, “sit down and shut up.” Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it. After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves, and to learn from them, so that we can have the kind of open, fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

[Hillary Clinton didn’t give her concession speech on election night. Now we see one reason why.]

Second, you learned the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free market places of ideas, embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of and antidote to a closed society, where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act. Here at Wellesley, you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. And you’ve shared your own stories. And at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that.

And let me add that your learning, listening, and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country.

Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on. Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and false information. Their economic problems and cultural anxiety must be addressed, or they will continue to sign up to be foot-soldiers in the ongoing conflict between “us” and “them.”

The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of these same people don’t want DREAMers deported their health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

And third, here at Wellesley, you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital, they only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This College has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” is as true today as it ever was. If you think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Not long ago, I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out. And, like a lot of people, they’re wondering: What do we do now?

Well I think there’s only one answer, to keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger – those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private – in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods. And do it in public—in Medium posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote, and while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election, not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to vote as well. Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one, start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything, but don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself some day. Now that’s not for everybody, I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

As Tala said, the day after the election, I did want to speak particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women, because you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course, but we also need your compassion, your curiosity, your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

Our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is, that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments for whatever reason when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it’ll help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future.

One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them. And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, and organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends.

When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.” That was true then. It’s truer today. I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later—certainly never that I would have run for the Presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling.

Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now opened. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through, to advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom.

So whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you so. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good. Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try, fail, try again, and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams.

I’m very optimistic about the future, because I think, after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you. With all my heart, I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth, be great. But first, graduate.

Congratulations!

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

MORE READING: 

Greg Gianforte’s win in Montana proves there’s no penalty in politics for media bashing

A nostalgic look back at Trump’s first trip abroad

The GOP’s newest member of Congress can’t make up his mind about whether he assaulted a reporter, or a reporter assaulted him

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Hillary Clinton's remarkably aggressive anti-Trump speech, annotated – Washington Post

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

It’s been 200 days, or 239,040 minutes, or 17,280,000 seconds since the presidential election. President Trump still talks a lot about it. And on Friday, Hillary Clinton may as well have been transported on a time machine back to Nov. 7, too.

Her 30-minute commencement speech Friday at Wellesley College was filled with direct burns at her 2016 opponent. Here’s the whole speech, annotated with what we found eyebrow-raising. Click the highlighted words to see the annotations.

Thanks!

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much for that warm welcome. I am so grateful to be here back at Wellesley, especially for President Johnson’s very first Commencement, and to thank her, the trustees, families and friends, faculty, staff, and guests for understanding and perpetuating the importance of this college: what it stands for, what it has meant, and what it will do in the years ahead. And most importantly, it’s wonderful to be here with another green class to say, congratulations to the class of 2017!

Now I have some of my dear friends here from my class, a green class of 1969. And I assume, or at least you can tell me later, unlike us, you actually have a class cheer. 1969 Wellesley. [shakes head] Yet another year with no class cheer. But it is such an honor to join with the College and all who have come to celebrate this day with you, and to recognize the amazing futures that await you.

You know, four years ago, maybe a little more or a little less for some of you— I told the trustees I was sitting with, after hearing Tala’s speech, I didn’t think I could get through it. So we’ll blame allergy instead of emotion. But you know, you arrived at this campus. You arrived from all over. You joined students from 49 states and 58 countries. Now maybe you felt like you belonged right away. I doubt it. But maybe some of you did and you never wavered.

[Hillary Clinton’s breakout moment at Wellesley College]

But maybe you changed your major three times and your hairstyle twice that many. Or maybe, after your first month of classes, you made a frantic collect call (ask your parents what that was) back to Illinois to tell your mother and father you weren’t smart enough to be here. My father said, “Okay, come home.” My mother said, “You have to stick it out.” That’s what happened to me.

But whatever your path, you dreamed big. You probably, in true Wellesley fashion, planned your academic and extracurricular schedule right down to the minute. So this day that you’ve been waiting for—and maybe dreading a little—is finally here.

As President Johnson said, I spoke at my Commencement 48 years ago. I came back 25 years ago to speak at another Commencement. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be this year than right here.

Now, you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned. But you know what? I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire Commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods, organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie. Chardonnay helped a little, too.

But here’s what helped most of all: remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe. And that is what Wellesley means to me. This College gave me so much. It launched me on a life of service and provided friends that I still treasure. So wherever your life takes you, I hope that Wellesley serves as that kind of touchstone for you.

Now if any of you are nervous about what you’ll be walking into when you leave the campus, I know that feeling. I do remember my Commencement. I’d been asked by my classmates to speak. I stayed up all night with my friends, the third floor of Davis, writing and editing my speech. By the time we gathered in the Academic Quad, I was exhausted. My hair was a wreck. The mortarboard made it worse. But I was pretty oblivious to all of that, because what my friends had asked me to do was to talk about our worries, and about our ability and responsibility to do something about them.

We didn’t trust government, authority figures, or really anyone over 30, in large part thanks to years of heavy casualties and dishonest official statements about Vietnam, and deep differences over civil rights and poverty here at home. We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, would ever be treated with dignity and respect.

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.

Speaking at Wellesley College’s commencement on May 26, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton alluded to similarities between President Trump and former president Richard Nixon. (Reuters)

But here’s 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 here’s 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. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.

[Here’s what the pins that Sheriff Clarke wears actually mean]

Why does all this matter? It matters because if our leaders lie about the problems we face, we’ll 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 Enlightenment—in 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 system—the envy of the world—was 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 there’s 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 reality—not 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 don’t own a cable news network. You don’t control the Facebook algorithm. You aren’t a member of Congress—yet. Because I believe with all my heart that the future of America—indeed, the future of the world—depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity, right now, every day. You didn’t create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright, first President of the Czech Republic, wrote an essay called “The Power of the Powerless.” And in it, he said: “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”
What he’s telling us is if you feel powerless, don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter. In the years to come, there will be trolls galore—online and in person—eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a Nasty Woman. Some may take a slightly more sophisticated approach and say your elite education means you are out of touch with real people. In other words, “sit down and shut up.” Now, in my experience, that’s the last thing you should ever tell a Wellesley graduate.

And here’s the good news. What you’ve learned these four years is precisely what you need to face the challenges of this moment. First, you learned critical thinking. I can still remember the professors who challenged me to make decisions with good information, rigorous reasoning, real deliberation. I know we didn’t have much of that in this past election, but we have to get back to it. After all, in the words of my predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

And your education gives you more than knowledge. It gives you the power to keep learning and apply what you know to improve your life and the lives of others. Because you are beginning your careers with one of the best educations in the world, I think you do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves, and to learn from them, so that we can have the kind of open, fact-based debate necessary for our democracy to survive and flourish. And along the way, you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what? That’s okay. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

[Hillary Clinton didn’t give her concession speech on election night. Now we see one reason why.]

Second, you learned the value of an open mind and an open society. At their best, our colleges and universities are free market places of ideas, embracing a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. That’s our country at our best, too. An open, inclusive, diverse society is the opposite of and antidote to a closed society, where there is only one right way to think, believe, and act. Here at Wellesley, you’ve worked hard to turn this ideal into a reality. You’ve spoken out against racism and sexism and xenophobia and discrimination of all kinds. And you’ve shared your own stories. And at times that’s taken courage. But the only way our society will ever become a place where everyone truly belongs is if all of us speak openly and honestly about who we are, what we’re going through. So keep doing that.

And let me add that your learning, listening, and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically. A lot of our fellow Americans have lost faith in the existing economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of our country.

Many feel left behind, left out, looked down on. Their anger and alienation has proved a fertile ground for false promises and false information. Their economic problems and cultural anxiety must be addressed, or they will continue to sign up to be foot-soldiers in the ongoing conflict between “us” and “them.”

The opportunity is here. Millions of people will be hurt by the policies, including this budget that is being considered. And many of these same people don’t want DREAMers deported their health care taken away. Many don’t want to retreat on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights. So if your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future. Better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.

And third, here at Wellesley, you learned the power of service. Because while free and fierce conversations in classrooms, dorm rooms, dining halls are vital, they only get us so far. You have to turn those ideas and those values into action. This College has always understood that. The motto which you’ve heard twice already, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” is as true today as it ever was. If you think about it, it’s kind of an old-fashioned rendering of President Kennedy’s great statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Not long ago, I got a note from a group of Wellesley alums and students who had supported me in the campaign. They worked their hearts out. And, like a lot of people, they’re wondering: What do we do now?

Well I think there’s only one answer, to keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even your anger – those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world. Stand up for truth and reason. Do it in private – in conversations with your family, your friends, your workplace, your neighborhoods. And do it in public—in Medium posts, on social media, or grab a sign and head to a protest. Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day.

So wherever you wind up next, the minute you get there, register to vote, and while you’re at it, encourage others to do so. And then vote in every election, not just the presidential ones. Bring others to vote. Fight every effort to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to vote as well. Get involved in a cause that matters to you. Pick one, start somewhere. You don’t have to do everything, but don’t sit on the sidelines. And you know what? Get to know your elected officials. If you disagree with them, ask questions. Challenge them. Better yet, run for office yourself some day. Now that’s not for everybody, I know. And it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it. As they say in one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”

As Tala said, the day after the election, I did want to speak particularly to women and girls everywhere, especially young women, because you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. Not just your future, but our future depends on you believing that. We need your smarts, of course, but we also need your compassion, your curiosity, your stubbornness. And remember, you are even more powerful because you have so many people supporting you, cheering you on, standing with you through good times and bad.

Our culture often celebrates people who appear to go it alone. But the truth is, that’s not how life works. Anything worth doing takes a village. And you build that village by investing love and time into your relationships. And in those moments for whatever reason when it might feel bleak, think back to this place where women have the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, even fail in front of each other. Channel the strength of your Wellesley classmates and experiences. I guarantee you it’ll help you stand up a little straighter, feel a little braver, knowing that the things you joked about and even took for granted can be your secret weapons for your future.

One of the things that gave me the most hope and joy after the election, when I really needed it, was meeting so many young people who told me that my defeat had not defeated them. And I’m going to devote a lot of my future to helping you make your mark in the world. I created a new organization called Onward Together to help recruit and train future leaders, and organize for real and lasting change. The work never ends.

When I graduated and made that speech, I did say, and some of you might have pictures from that day with this on it, “The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.” That was true then. It’s truer today. I never could have imagined where I would have been 48 years later—certainly never that I would have run for the Presidency of the United States or seen progress for women in all walks of life over the course of my lifetime. And yes, put millions of more cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling.

Because just in those years, doors that once seemed sealed to women are now opened. They’re ready for you to walk through or charge through, to advance the struggle for equality, justice, and freedom.

So whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you so. Do it for yourselves. Do it for truth and reason. Do it because the history of Wellesley and this country tells us it’s often during the darkest times when you can do the most good. Double down on your passions. Be bold. Try, fail, try again, and lean on each other. Hold on to your values. Never give up on those dreams.

I’m very optimistic about the future, because I think, after we’ve tried a lot of other things, we get back to the business of America. I believe in you. With all my heart, I want you to believe in yourselves. So go forth, be great. But first, graduate.

Congratulations!

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the commencement address at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on May 26. (Reuters)

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