Hillary Clinton spoke during an event at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL last week about the importance of inclusion and equality in renewing the American spirit and making the nation a stronger, more competitive force. Clinton stressed the necessity of broadening the prospects and participation of women, young adults, poor, and other disenfranchised individuals in the public forum. The former first lady indicated that the nation’s future depends on its ability to embrace the concept of “full participation.”
During her speech, Clinton recalled one of the most pivotal experiences from her childhood. She attended a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago and said that the words still resonate today. She reminisced about Dr. King encouraging the audience to become fully engaged in the pursuit of justice and not stand by while the world changes around them. Clinton called upon everyone in the audience to recognize that it is the duty of this generation to ensure that every woman and man, girl and boy live in societies that respect their rights, potential, and talents, as well as provide them with the opportunities they deserve no matter who they are or what their background. Additionally, Clinton stated that it should not matter what color your skin is, what religion you practice, where you were born, what ethnicity you are, or whom you choose to love. The idea of full participation hinges on acceptance and recognition of individuals for who they are and what talents and contributions they can share with society.
If Clinton does in fact decide to run for President, her talk of inclusion and equality could very well become a centerpiece of her 2016 presidential campaign. She remains the democratic favorite and national frontrunner in political polling results, similar to her position in 2008. The former senator from New York, who has also served as Secretary of State under President Obama, as well as former first lady who played a crucial role in Health Care Reform during her husband’s presidency in the 1990s, also took the opportunity to defend the Affordable Care Act and strongly urged people in the audience to sign up for coverage under the landmark legislation. Clinton stressed that no one is invincible and you cannot possibly know what events might befall you now or in the future. It is always best to be prepared and know you have the coverage if you ever need it.
The former Secretary of State also addressed the need to move beyond partisan politics and work together to strengthen our nation. Clinton made reference to 19th Century French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, who stressed the philosophy of “the habits of the heart.” In which it is recognized that “equality in itself means nothing unless it leads to opportunities, but those opportunities don’t just happen by themselves.” Meaning such opportunities need to be established, mentored, fostered, and allowed time to grow.
Clinton’s talk of inclusion and equality is a concept that not only makes tremendous sense, but is long overdue and needed in our society. This concept could serve to make our nation stronger as a whole, but it could also aid our nation from several internal standpoints. As Clinton suggested, by broadening the prospects and participation of women, young adults, the poor, and other disenfranchised individuals in the public forum, it could result in lower unemployment rates, a lessened reliance on public entitlement programs, and help foster a sense of purpose and achievement in those who participate. Millions of people continue to immigrate to our nation each year for more opportunities. Isn’t it time to provide more and better opportunities for Americans on a larger scale no matter what their circumstances and help realize Clinton’s suggestion of full participation?
Opinion By Leigh Haugh