In 2016, Hillary Clinton has secured enough delegates to become the first woman nominee of a major political party. In 1969, Clinton-then-Rodham was the first student to ever give a commencement speech at Wellesley’s graduation. Now, the women’s college has begun posting audio clips of the speech in what is likely partly done out of institutional pride at the achievement, and partly an intentional campaign move—she sounds cool as hell.
“There was no debate, as far as I could ascertain, as to who their spokesman would be,” says Wellesley’s then-president Ruth Adams in her introduction, giving the Bernie Sanders camp a 47-year-in-advance wink.
In the clip, Clinton speaks about how her generation has been trapped in a stage of reacting for too long, lacking the power to fix the problems they care about.
“Part of the problem with just empathy with professed goals is that empathy doesn’t do us anything,” Clinton says. “We’ve had lots of empathy; we’ve had lots of sympathy, but we feel that for too long that our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible, and the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.”
Did she give a campaign speech almost five decades in advance knowing exactly who she’d be running against? Is she accidentally calling out Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump at the same time in 1969? Is this woman a sorceress?
“We arrived at Wellesley, and we found, as all of us have found, that there was a gap between expectation and realities. But it wasn’t a discouraging gap, and it didn’t turn us into cynical, bitter old women at the age of 18. It just inspired us to do something about that gap. What we did is often difficult for people to understand. They ask us quite often, why if you’re dissatisfied do you stay in a place? Well, If you didn’t care a lot about it, you wouldn’t stay.”
“One of the most tragic things that happened yesterday, a beautiful day, was that I was talking to a woman who said she wouldn’t want to be me for anything in the world. She wouldn’t want to live today and look ahead to what she sees, because she’s afraid. Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.”