Nearly 50 years ago this month, a young Hillary Rodham delivered Wellesley College's student commencement speech. On Friday, Hillary Rodham (now with a "Clinton" tagged onto the end) addressed graduating students there for the third time—she also spoke at commencement in 1992, when she was first lady, per Fortune—and she had a lot to say on current political events, fake news, and the restorative power of a good bottle of wine. Some nuggets from her speech, per NPR, TMZ, and CNN:
- Clinton didn't shy away from addressing the current US administration, calling the new Trump budget proposal "an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us" that's "shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie." In short, "a con."
- She recalled what the climate was like during her 1969 commencement, pointing out striking similarities to America today. "We were asking urgent questions about whether women, people of color, religious minorities, immigrants would ever be treated with dignity and respect," she said. "And … 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."
- Clinton clarified what's different today, including the "fake news" phenomenon, which she labeled a "full-fledged assault on truth and reason." This crisis, she said, includes "people denying science," as well as those spinning "elaborate, hurtful conspiracies theories" and "drumming up rampant fear" against those who appear different or vulnerable. "Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes. Like the size of crowds," she said in one of what CNN calls her "thinly veiled digs" against President Trump.
- These "alternative facts" can "mark the beginning of the end of a free society," she noted, insisting her remark was not an exaggeration: "It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. They attempt to control reality. Not just our laws and our rights and our budgets, but our thoughts and beliefs."
- Clinton had some "good news" to share as well: namely, that Wellesley grads have the critical-thinking skills, education, and open minds to take on the challenges of the world. "Make defending truth and a free society a core value of your life every single day," she advised.
- The woman who may have been president also spoke of her November loss to Trump, though she assured the crowd "I'm doing OK." She says she has been spending time with her two grandkids, taking "long walks in the woods," and getting her closets in order. "I won't lie, chardonnay helped a little, too," she noted.
Read the full transcript, courtesy of Town and Country
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