Hillary Clinton Discusses Her Latest Book What Happened and the State of Our Nation Today.
– recap of her talk at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
“I have always felt I have had to be somewhat careful in public. Kind of keep my guard up a little bit. But now I’m going to get down.” Hillary Clinton today.
In this day of political turmoil and desiviness there is an undisputable bond we all share, the planet we live on. It’s become too easy to point fingers and take sides though it has become common place. Emotionally fueled and driven, the left – the right; red and blue, everyone has different solutions to the problems we face. This past election of 2016 was unprecedented in many ways. For the first time in our country’s history a woman became the nation’s first nominee for the office of President of the United States: Hillary Rodham Clinton. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two years you already know this. The presidential campaign of 2016 seemed to be the longest in history. Between the back and forth rhetoric, television commercials, and Presidential debates and mudslinging – good God, it dragged on. I’ve never been so happy to see car commercials in my life.
To discuss Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments in the public arena would be redundant at this moment in time. I will however highlight some in order to put things in perspective as we relate to them today. In 1969 she graduated from Wellesley College where she was elected senior class president and was active in student politics. She graduated from Yale Law School with honors in 1973 where she met Bill Clinton. In 1971 she came to Washington D.C. to work on U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s sub-committee on migrant workers. In 1972, she worked for the campaign of Democratic nominee George McGovern. She worked on Jimmy Carter’s successful campaign for President in 1976 as well as joining the Rose Law Firm. In 1988 and 1991, the National Law Journal named her one of the top 100 most powerful lawyers in America.
As an advocate of women’s, children’s and family rights she continued her trailblazing ways. While serving as First Lady to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001 she was instrumental in spearheading the Task Force on National Health Reform (1993) which laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act. She championed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. In 1995, she helped create the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. Many other bills followed in the years ahead. In 2000, Clinton was elected as the first female Senator from New York. She was re-elected to the Senate in 2006, ran for president in 2008, winning more delegates than any previous female candidate losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. Under Obama’s administration she served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. She is the author of seven best-selling books. Her latest What Happened is a New York Times Best Seller and why I am writing this tonight.
This evening Hillary Clinton made an appearance here in South Florida at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale on her current book tour. The staging of tonight’s event showcased familiar scenes. Center stage left a podium – like one of many this woman has stood behind as a public servant, though I don’t know if this was a conscience piece in the setting. Center stage right a more comfortable setting – a coffee table flanked by two chairs. This was utilized later in the evening by moderator Kelly Shandling (President and CCO of the Broward Center) and Clinton in a sit-down Q&A segment. Far stage right the State of Florida flag – far state left beamed the core of our nation’s pride: an American flag standing strong in a singular spotlight. These four elements represent in their simplest form America and our way of life. Pride in our state, freedom of speech (what two better examples of communication than a conversation between individual people or relying ideas to the masses, and finally love for country.
After a brief introduction by Shandling and a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, First Lady Clinton walked on stage with poise, confidence and grace to a standing ovation. Wearing a signature pantsuit (purple this evening) she seemed comfortable as she started the evening discussing many topics, most covered in her tell all book. 2675 seated patrons, plus standing-room-only have waited for this moment to hear in person from the woman herself. We are waiting no longer. Wasting no time she delved into the problems that face this nation and its people, ALL its people. Blacks, whites, immigrants, straight, gay, women, children, all are of concern and one does not outweigh the other when it comes to importance in our society. Two days after the worst mass shooting in modern American history in Vegas, (which she described as “one of the worst moments in American history”) she deconstructed gun control and the issue of mental health in regards to obtaining weapons legally. She discussed gun legislation voicing her concerns for an upcoming bill ‘The Hearing Protection Act.’ This legislation supported by Republican congressional leaders and the NRA, would allow individuals to purchase a gun silencer the same way you would purchase a standard rifle or pistol. There would be no $200 tax stamp, no excessive wait times, no fingerprint cards, passport photos, or Chief Law Enforcement Officer signature. No NFA trusts. A simple process, just like when you purchase most firearms through your dealer. This would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to locate a shooter by elimination the gun firing noise-hence its name.
Highlighting four important lessons she’s learned, she shared personal stories for each one. The first and probably most personally painful came immediately after losing the 2016 Presidential election. When asked by countless numbers of people, it’s a question we all hear daily and usually give a cavalier response, “How are you?” Her answer, the most telling in regards to her resolve as a human being, “As a person I’m okay. As an American I’m really worried.” Her therapy after losing the election consisted of spending time with her family, going for long walks the woods, watching Home and Garden television, playing with the dog, doing yoga and organizing “every closet and drawer.” “I also had my fair share of chardonnay.” If wine didn’t quite do the trick, “a really, really, really cold vodka martini with olives.” Number 2: “There is no such thing as an alternate fact”. (Aimed at the current administration and its attack on the media)
Number 3: “The only way to get more sexism out of politics is to get more women in”. Number 4: “The forces that were at work in 2016 are still with us. This was a perfect storm. Deep currents of anger and resentment, felt by many, flowing through our culture. A political press that told voters the most important story of the entire campaign were my emails.” Social and political injustice, global warming, the Russian collusion of the election and their manipulation of social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter), each brought a well thought out, clear and concise explanation and opinion.
Taking aim at Trump and his presidency, (the mention of his name produced boo’s from the audience) she said the U.S. government needs to do more in aiding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Quickly stating the intensified hurricanes we’ve suffered so far this year should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind global warming is real and needs to be addressed and solved.
What struck me most about seeing and hearing Hillary live in person was the electricity her presence brought to the room. Obviously it’s not something tangible that can be touched physically and yet there was a connection between herself and everyone in the Arts center. Her 79 minutes on stage, though a teleprompter was present, she never seemed to glance down as she spoke ‘off the cuff’ as if she were talking to an old friend. Two final points she left with us for the evening are as pure and simple as tonight’s rain:
“Regardless of our political point of view or our party, we need to get back to listening to each other.”
“I tell boys and girls you can follow your dreams and be whatever you want to be – even President of the United States.” No truer words have ever been spoken.