Hillary Clinton: “To be great, we can’t be small”

Last night, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton clinched the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Before her victory speech, this video was presented to the assembled crowd (it had been shared on social media earlier in the afternoon)

It is a powerful statement about the history that has been made and will be made.

Hillary Clinton’s Victory Speech, June 7, 2016, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard:

Secretary Hillary Clinton on the historic nature of her victory:

Tonight’s victory is not about one person.

It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls in 1848 where a small but determined group of women and men came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights. […]

And this, looking ahead:

We believe we should lift each other up, not tear each other down. … To be great, we can’t be small. We have to be as big as the values that define America. …

This election is [not] about about the same old fights between Republicans and Democrats. This election is different.

It really is about who we are as a nation. It’s about millions of Americans coming together so take we are better than this. We won’t let this happen in America. And if you agree, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, I hope you will join us in just a few weeks, we will meet in Philadelphia which gave birth to our nation back in that hot summer of 1776. Those early patriots knew they would all rise or fall together. Well, to day that is more true than ever. Our campaign will take the message to every corner of our country. We’re stronger when our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

With good paying jobs and good schools in every zip code and a real commitment to all families and all regions of our nation. We are stronger when we work with our allies and we’re stronger when we respect each other, listen to each other and act with a sense of common purpose. We’re stronger when every family and every community knows they’re not on their own. Because we are in this together. It really does take a village to raise a child. And to build a stronger future for us all. […]

Yes, there are still ceilings to break for women and men for all of us. But don’t let anyone tell you that great things can’t happen in America. Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win. Our history has moved in that direction. Thanks to generations of Americans who refuse to give up or back down.

Now you are writing a new chapter of that story. This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together.

… if we stand together, we will rise together.

Because we are stronger together. Let’s go out and make that case to America.

Transcript below.

Transcript (via VOX):

It’s wonderful to be back in Brooklyn here in this beautiful building. It may be hard to see tonight, but we’re all standing under a glass ceiling right now.

But don’t worry. We’re not smashing this one. Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone. The first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee.

Tonight’s victory is not about one person.

It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls in 1848 where a small but determined group of women and men came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights and they set it forth in something called the Declaration of Conscience and it was first time in human history that that kind of declaration occurred. So we all owe so much to those who came before and tonight belongs to all of you.

I want to thank all the volunteers, community leaders, the activists and organizers who supported our campaign in every state and territory. And thanks especially to our friends in New Jersey for such a resounding victory tonight. Thanks for talking to your neighbors, for making contributions. You’re efforts have produced a strong majority of the popular vote. Victories in a majority of the contests and after tonight a majority of pledged delegates. I want to thank all the people across our country who have taken the time to talk with me. I learned a lot about you.

And I learned about those persistent problems and the unfinished promise of America that you’re living with. So many of you feel like you’re out there on your own, that no one has your back. Well, I do. I hear you. I see you. And as your president, I will always have your back.

I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for the extraordinary campaign he has run. He has spent his long career in public service fighting for Progressive causes and principles and he’s excited millions of voters, especially young people. And let there be no mistake.

Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very good for the democratic party and for America. This has been a hard fought, deeply felt campaign. But whether you supported me or senator Sanders or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, stronger America. Now I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in and to come up short. I know that feeling well.

But as we look ahead, let’s remember all that United States is. We all want an economy with more opportunity and less inquality, where Wall Street can never remembering main street again. We want a government that listens to the people, not the powerbrokers which means getting unaccountable money out of politics. And we all want a society that is toll ranlt, inclusive and fair.

We all believe that America succeeds when more people share in our prosperity. Whether more people have a voice in our political system. Whether more people can contribute to their communities. We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better division, empowerment is better than resentment and bridges are better than walls.

[Make America Great Again is code for] let’s take America backwards. Back to a time when opportunity and dignity we reserved for some not all. Promising his supporters an economy he cannot re-create. We have a prosperity that lifts everyone who has been left out and left behind including those who may not vote for us but who deserve their chance to make a new beginning.

When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage or he mocks a reporter with disabilities or calls womenmen pigs, it goes against everything we stand for. Because we want an America where everyone is treated with respect and where their work is valued. Donald Trump attacked the press for asking tough questions, denigrated muslims and immigrants. He wants to win by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds. And reminding us daily just how great he is.

We believe we should lift each other up, not tear each other down. We believe we need to give Americans a raise, not complain that hard-working people’s wages are too high. We believe we need to help young people struggling with student debt, not pile more on our national debt with give aways to the super wealthy. We believe we fled to make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century not insist that climate change is a hoax.

To be great, we can’t be small. We have to be as big as the values that define America. And we are a big hearted, fair minded country. We teach our children that is one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Not just for people who look a certain way or worship a certain way or love a certain way. For all, indivisible. This election is not, however, about about the same old fights between Republicans and Democrats. This election is different.

It really is about who we are as a nation. It’s about millions of Americans coming together so take we are better than this. We won’t let this happen in America. And if you agree, whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, I hope you will join us in just a few weeks, we will meet in Philadelphia which gave birth to our nation back in that hot summer of 1776. Those early patriots knew they would all rise or fall together. Well, to day that is more true than ever. Our campaign will take the message to every corner of our country. We’re stronger when our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

With good paying jobs and good schools in every zip code and a real commitment to all families and all regions of our nation. We are stronger when we work with our allies and we’re stronger when we respect each other, listen to each other and act with a sense of common purpose. We’re stronger when every family and every community knows they’re not on their own. Because we are in this together. It really does take a village to raise a child. And to build a stronger future for us all.

I learned this a long time ago from the biggest influence in my life, my mother. She was the rock until the day I was born until she left us. She overcame a childhood marked by abandonment and mistreatment and somehow managed not to become bitter or broken. My mother believed that life is about serving others. And she taught me never to back down from a bully which it turns out was pretty good advice.

This past Saturday would have been her 97th birthday. She was born on June 4th, 1919 and some of you may know the significance of that date. On the the very day my mother was born in Chicago, Congress was passing the 19th amendment to the constitution. That amendment finally gave women the right to vote. And I really wish my mother could be here tonight.

I wish she could see what a wonderful mother Chelsea has become and could meet our beautiful granddaughter Charlotte and, of course, I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic party’s nominee.

So yes. Yes, there are still ceilings to break for women and men for all of us. But don’t let anyone tell you that great things can’t happen in America. Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win. Our history has moved in that direction. Thanks to generations of Americans who refuse to give up or back down.

Now you are writing a new chapter of that story. This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together. Join our campaign. Contribute what you can. Text join to 47246. Help us organize in all 50 states! Every phone call you make, every door you knock on will move us forward.

Now I’m going to take a moment later tonight and the days ahead to fully absorb the history we’ve made here. But what I think about is the choice that’s we’re about to make, the goals we will strive for, the principles we will live by. And we need to make sure that they can be proud of us. The end of the primaries is only the beginning of the work we’re called to do. But if we stand together, we will rise together.

Because we are stronger together. Let’s go out and make that case to America. Thank you! God bless you and bless America!

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9 Comments

  1. Forward, together …

    Now you are writing a new chapter of that story. This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us and this is our moment to come together.

  2. ThinkProgress: The Most Memorable Moment From Hillary Clinton’s Historic Victory Speech

    The most personal moment, however, came when Clinton evoked her mother. Eight years ago in 2008, Dorothy Rodham had stood on the stage next to her daughter as she delivered a speech after losing her last primary to then-Senator Barack Obama. Three years later, Rodham passed away at the age of 92.

    “This past Saturday would have been her 97th birthday, because she was born on June 4, 1919, and some of you may know the significance of that date,” Clinton said. “On the very day my mother was born in Chicago, Congress was passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment finally gave women the right to vote.”

    “I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic Party’s nominee,” she said.

    Twitter:

    Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

    Wish Mom could have been here to see tonight.

    • Gail Collins: What Hillary Imagines

      … can you imagine going back in history and sharing Clinton’s news with the suffragists? This is one of my favorite mind games – pretend you’re returning to 1872 and telling the story to Susan B. Anthony while she was being handcuffed for the crime of voting while female. […]

      I asked [Hillary] for her own pick.

      And her answer was: if she could go into the past to tell someone that she’d been nominated for President of the United States, it would be her mother.

      Dorothy Rodham had an auspicious date of birth — June 4, 1919, the very same day the Senate passed a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. But otherwise, she had a terrible beginning. Her parents abandoned her. At 8, she was riding across the country, unaccompanied except for her younger sister, on the way to live with grandparents who didn’t want them. She went off on her own at 14, working as a housekeeper during the Depression. But she got herself through high school, was a good student and raised her own daughter to believe the sky was the limit.

      Before we head off on the rest of this deeply imperfect election, take a second and enjoy. Imagine Hillary Clinton going back in time. She sits in the train next to a frightened little girl, and delivers the news about what happened this week.

  3. Wonderful, Jan! Thank you for this post reproducing her speech, so we can savor every word at our leisure. (I’m one who responds to the written word much more than the video version.)

    Didn’t you love that ad, showing all the women who came before and worked for women’s rights? It was great!

    Onward and upward, ladies!

    • The ad is inspiring! When it came across my Twitter feed late yesterday afternoon, I watched it twice and shared it immediately with everyone I knew.

      I am also one who needs to read speeches as well as listen to them. That transcript is the early “grab” from VOX and I noticed there were a few typos. When I get a clean transcript, I will replace it.

  4. The phrase “To be great, we can’t be small” resonated with me. The Ryan Republican Party has a puny vision for America and envisions a country that can’t care about its old people or poor or sick or homeless. President Obama addressed this in a rebuttal to Paul Ryan’s first budget after the Republicans won the House of Representatives.

    GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued a manifesto that proclaimed the benefits of the rich getting richer and the poor paying for it. It was stunning how he cheerfully outlined the Republican plan as if it were actually reasonable instead of one of the more heinous attacks by the have-mores on the have-nothings in centuries. More startling was how it was viewed by many as courageous. Perhaps courageous in it’s, um, brassiness, but not courageous in the way most people think of courageous: standing up for what is right and good in the face of adversity.

    That the plan received anything but shunning was one of the saddest moments in recent American political history. Because, unfortunately, when a complicated proposal is made that requires someone to “read” and “turn pages” that is often perceived as “hard work” and what sticks in people’s minds is how it is characterized, not it’s content.

    The Cause, as Rep. Ryan called it, laid out a plan for the shriveling of America. It defined the puniness of the vision of the Republican party for our country.

    Nothing makes a vision look punier and more mean than being put up against a vision of greatness and that is what happened Wednesday afternoon.

    President Barack Obama laid out his vision yesterday. What struck me most was that it was not the vision of American greatness that is more commonly evoked in speeches that harken back to our early history: visions of a railroad laid across the nation or storming the beaches of Normandy or a man on the moon.

    From the president’s speech:

    These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America we believe in. And they paint a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.

    It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them. Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the United States of America – the greatest nation on Earth – can’t afford any of this.

    It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you’re a 65 year old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck – you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

    President Obama also spoke of the “smallness of our politics” this past year:

    The point I’m trying to make is I care about fixing our politics not only because I’m the President today, or because some of my initiatives have been blocked by Congress — that happens to every President, happens to every governor, happens to everybody who participates — anybody who participates in a democracy. You’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want all the time.

    The reason this is important to me is, next year I’ll still hold the most important title of all, and that’s the title of citizen. And as an American citizen, I understand that our progress is not inevitable — our progress has never been inevitable. It must be fought for, and won by all of us. […]

    We’ve got to build a better politics — one that’s less of a spectacle and more of a battle of ideas; one that’s less of a business and more of a mission; one that understands the success of the American experiment rests on our willingness to engage all our citizens in this work.

    And that starts by acknowledging that we do have a problem. And we all know it. What’s different today is the nature and the extent of the polarization … there’s this yawning gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics.

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