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. After you click on an annotation, please click on the bar on the upper-right-hand corner of your page that says “Filter Annotations” and choose “All 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.

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

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.

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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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. After you click on an annotation, please click on the bar on the upper-right-hand corner of your page that says “Filter Annotations” and choose “All 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.

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

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.

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. After you click on an annotation, please click on the bar on the upper-right-hand corner of your page that says “Filter Annotations” and choose “All 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.

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

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.

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. After you click on an annotation, please click on the bar on the upper-right-hand corner of your page that says “Filter Annotations” and choose “All 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.

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

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.

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 University 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, and sign up for a Genius account to add your own.

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.

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

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.

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 University 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, and sign up for a Genius account to add your own.

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.

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.

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.

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 University 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, and sign up for a Genius account to add your own.

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.

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.

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.

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 University 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, and sign up for a Genius account to add your own.

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.

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.

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.

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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Clinton launches new campaign against Trump – Politico

Hillary Clinton is pictured. | Getty

Hillary Clinton returned to Wellesley College on Friday as an alumna of the institution where in 1969 she became the first student commencement speaker and spoke again at a graduating ceremony in 1992. | Getty

Speaking before her alma mater, the former Democratic nominee warns that the president is tearing apart the nation.

She didn’t beat him, and now she’s suggesting he might be impeached.

Hillary Clinton is still running against Donald Trump—against what she says he represents about the worst in America, against his twisting of the truth, against his priorities, and against his personal attacks on her.

Story Continued Below

Friday morning, she was back at Wellesley College, her alma mater, delivering her third commencement speech there—the first was at her own graduation, the second as first lady.

She was talking to the graduates about their future. But she was focused just as much on her own past, and the hardest, fullest case against Trump she’s made since last November.

“In the years to come, there will be trolls galore, online and in person,” she said, urging the graduates not to let themselves get beaten down. “They may even call you ‘a nasty woman.'”

Back when she was getting her diploma in 1969, Clinton said, “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,” pausing to soak up the cheers and applause from a crowd who knew exactly what she was talking about, and approved.

Just in case anyone missed the point, she leaned in a little further, reminding students and attendees of the private women’s liberal arts school in Massachusetts that Richard Nixon had gone down “after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice.”

“But here’s what I want you to know. We got through that tumultuous time, and once again we began to thrive as our society changed laws and opened the circle of opportunity and rights wider and wider for more Americans,” Clinton said.

Clinton has been struggling non-stop over the last six months with her loss, but she’s also been struggling with her public role. People close to her, many of whom share her insistence that a race she ran well was stolen out from under her by Russian involvement and by a surprise October letter from that same now-fired FBI director, are frustrated that she hasn’t been more in demand for a central role in the Trump resistance.

Many other Democrats, though, would like to see her fade into history, angry that she does not seem to be accepting her full responsibility for her loss, and frustrated that she’s keeping the party trapped in a Clinton versus Trump loop that they’ll never escape.

Clinton has started a political action group, Onward Together (playing off her campaign slogan, complete with a logo that uses the same font and arrow that was all over last year). She’s popped up at events, taking questions from moderators, giving short remarks. She’s taken a few digs at Trump, enough to stir a few passing conversations among diehards and observers, ranging from “is she maybe running again?” to “she’s not really thinking about running, right?”

But never before has she delivered as detailed a case against the man who beat her, whom she spent last year feeling it was her duty to keep out of the White House, and scared that she wouldn’t be able to.

There’s a deeper problem in society of people forgetting about facts, she said, and she urged the graduates to tackle that, both in being more sophisticated consumers and by being more aggressively involved.

But she centered it in an attack on Trump and his aides, whom she said are engaged in a “full-fledged assault on truth and reason.” She called them people who are “denying things we see with our own eyes—like the size of crowds, and then defending themselves by talking about ‘alternative facts.'”

All last year, Clinton campaigned by saying Trump wasn’t what America should be. In a sense, that was a lighter charge than what then-President Barack Obama said on her behalf: that Trump’s election was, essentially, a threat to the republic.

That’s where Clinton landed on Friday.

“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,” she said. “That is not hyperbole, it is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done.”

She went deep in on Trump’s budget, calling its proposed cuts to programs “an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us.”

Listing some of the cuts specifically, she tied the budget to the White House’s lack of commitment to accuracy and facts—in this case, with not offering any real explanation for the $2 trillion gap in how they’d pay for what they’re pitching.

“Let’s call it what it is — a con,” she said.

And that’s about more than fuzzy math, Clinton charged.

“If our leaders lie about the problems we face, we will never solve them,” she said.

On Twitter, her former campaign aides lit up, putting up quotes, pushing back on criticism.

Responding to one reporter who wondered about the difference between whoever wrote Friday’s speech and the people behind her campaign speeches, Nick Merrill—her traveling press aide before and during the campaign, and one of the few who’s still on Clinton’s payroll—sarcastically shot back, “Same shitty team!”

They weren’t the only ones going right into it.

“HILLARY STILL COUGHING…” read a predicable tweet from the consistently anti-Clinton Drudge Report after she stopped for some water and it took about 20 seconds for the raspiness to leave her throat.

“BLAMES ALLERGIES…” came the next tweet.

The Republican National Committee even put out a statement about the speech, calling it “a stark reminder why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.”

“Instead of lashing out with the same partisan talking points, Hillary Clinton would be wise to look inward, talk about why she lost, and expand the dwindling base of Democrat Party supporters – we won’t hold our breath though,” said RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

And while warning about the grave danger facing the nation, Clinton insisted the dramatic rhetoric wasn’t about bitterness.

“You may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I planned,” Clinton said at the outset of her speech. “But you know what? I’m doing OK.”

But, she insisted, the White House really wasn’t on her mind: “I couldn’t think of anyplace I’d rather be this year than right here.”

She urged the graduates to register to vote, to get other people to register to vote, maybe to run for office themselves. Get involved, she said. Fight back. Don’t let Trump and what he represents break you, she said.

“It’s often,” Clinton said, “during the darkest times where you can do the most good.”

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After 2016 Assault, A Coptic Christian Grandmother In Egypt Fights For Justice – NPR

Suad Thabet sits with her granddaughter Sandy at home in Abu Qarqas. Thabet was attacked by a mob last year after one of her sons was accused of having an affair with a Muslim woman.

Jane Arraf/NPR

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Jane Arraf/NPR

Across a field from the unfinished concrete house where she lives, Suad Thabet can see the spires of the Abu Qarqas monastery. The 70-year-old Coptic Christian grandmother has had trouble sleeping since she was attacked in her nearby village of Karm a year ago. She says living near the monastery makes her feel safe.

Since the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and in the wake of a security vacuum that followed, there have been dozens of attacks on Egypt’s Christians. Friday’s attack on buses carrying Coptic Christians in Minya province, home to most of Egypt’s estimated 9 million Christians, left at least 28 dead and was the latest in a recent string of assaults on this minority.

Last month, suicide attacks at churches in two Egyptian cities killed 46 people attending Palm Sunday services. In February, murders claimed by ISIS militants forced many Christians to flee their North Sinai hometown. And in December, a suicide bombing left 29 dead at a church in Cairo.

While not deadly, the attack last year on Thabet by Muslim villagers in Minyan province whom she had known for years stands out as one of the most shocking. It started with a rumor that her son, Ashraf Attiya, was involved with a married Muslim woman. Attiya is himself married and a father.

On a Friday evening last May, “We were about to sit down to dinner, and then the house filled with people – each of them had a gun or a knife,” Thabet tells NPR, as she sits on a wooden bench against a brick wall. She has a kindly smile, framed by a wrinkled face. In the tradition of village Christian women, she wears pants under a calf-length dress. Her hair is covered with a fraying knitted scarf.

She says more than 40 people were in the mob. Some of them started shooting inside the house and beating her 79-year-old husband.

“When I saw them hitting him, I screamed,” she says. “Then they caught me and dragged me in the street and stripped me. I was standing naked in front of all those people.”

Attiya had already left a few days earlier with his family, after villagers, angered by the rumor, threatened to kill him.

Thabet says they dragged her other daughter-in-law, a teacher, from the second floor of the house and started beating her. Her terrified children hid behind a sofa.

One of the men hit Thabet’s son-in-law and stabbed her grandson in the shoulder. Then the mob poured gasoline inside the house and set it in flames.

“They burned the house and everything in it,” Thabet says. “They burned it, and we walked away – we were in shock.”

Thabet had gone to the police the night before to register a threat she’d heard about burning Christian houses. She says they told her to go home.

After the attack, she didn’t at first want to file a complaint. A few days later, the regional prosecutor insisted that she tell him what happened.

After being prevented from returning to her village, Thabet now lives near the Abu Qarqas monastery on the Nile Delta in Egypt’s Minya province. Many of the country’s Coptic Christians live in this province.

Jane Arraf/NPR

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Jane Arraf/NPR

The whole family ended up leaving the village. “We tried to go home, and they said, ‘None of you can come back. Don’t enter the village. It’s not your village,” she says.

Like many in Egypt’s countryside, Thabet can’t read or write. Although she would have liked to go to school, girls in her village were kept at home. She says she has found the courage to tell her story because she wants justice.

For two months after she filed her complaint, village leaders tried to persuade her to agree to local reconciliation – a process that bypasses courts and in which victims are often pressured to agree to a settlement.

“We did not agree about reconciliation. We said we take our rights, then we reconcile,” she says.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church has taken up Thabet’s case. It sees the attack she suffered as a dangerous precedent that needs to be openly punished to prevent similar attacks.

“Her case is the first time the church said ‘No,’ and it forced the state to take the legal route rather than the reconciliation,” Bishop Makarios, the church’s highest official in Minya province, tells NPR.

“What happened is different than the murders and destroying the churches, shops and houses. It is different than the discrimination in jobs and universities,” he says. “All of this we endure. But this humiliation? What is left if you strip a lady from her clothes?”

Ashraf Attiya sits with his wife Fifi and daughter Sandy. The Christian family was expelled from their village after Attiya was accused of being involved with a married Muslim woman. A mob stripped and dragged his mother through the streets and burned down their house.

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After centuries of persecution — starting with the Romans in the early days of Christianity — Egypt’s Coptic Christians say their church has been built on the blood of martyrs. But in the country’s conservative Arab society, dishonoring a woman — and, by extension, her family and entire community — is often seen as the ultimate insult.

The case has been postponed twice for lack of evidence, most recently in January. Makarios says he expects it be re-opened soon.

The attack was so shocking that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — who enjoys support from many Egyptian Christians — ordered the army to rebuild Thabet’s burned-down house. Thabet says it has been rebuilt, but is an empty shell. She says herfamily was left with no money to replace furniture or anything else. To put food on the table in the village where they are staying, her husband, now 80, has resorted to working as a field laborer for less than $2 a day.

Thabet says her son, Attiya, can’t leave the house to work because townspeople have threatened to kill him.

She says worse than the attack itself is that it has separated her family. Her elder son, a teacher, moved to Cairo with his wife and daughter after the attack.

“We can’t go back to the village,” she says. “They are threatening [Attiya] and threatening us. They say none of you can go back.”

Of roughly 50 Christian families living in Karm, Attiya says more than half moved away after the attack.

“Our village, Karm, does not have a lot of Christians. So [Muslims] come from other villages and do and say what they want to Christians there because we are poor and simple — and they know even if they curse us or hit us, we will keep quiet,” he says.

His mother says despite the attack, she still wants to go back to her house – after she gets justice.

“Whenever we try to go home, they threaten us,” she says. “I am a Coptic woman and an Egyptian citizen.”

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