On Saturday the voters of South Carolina gave Hillary Clinton a huge victory sending her into Super Tuesday with the wind at her back. Hillary earned victory because the people of South Carolina know her; they trust she will have their backs when she is President.
Last week Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Obama, wrote a very personal and beautiful endorsement of Hillary. I can't compete with his eloquence so thank him for his incredibly gracious comments about the person I believe will be our next President.
I hear you're still not 'Ready for Hillary'. I get it. I didn't start off as her biggest fan either. During the 2008 campaign, I wrote plenty less-than-complimentary words about Hillary Clinton in my role as Barack Obama's speechwriter. Weeks after the election, I had a well-documented run-in with a piece of cardboard that bore a striking resemblance to the incoming Secretary of State. It was one of the stupider, more disrespectful mistakes I've made, and one that could have cost me a job if Hillary hadn't accepted my apology, which she did with grace and humor. As a result, I had the chance to serve in the Obama administration with someone who was far different than the caricature I had helped perpetuate.
He went on:
The most famous woman in the world would walk through the White House with no entourage, casually chatting up junior staffers along the way. She was by far the most prepared, impressive person at every Cabinet meeting. She worked harder and logged more miles than anyone in the administration, including the president. And she'd spend large amounts of time and energy on things that offered no discernible benefit to her political future -- saving elephants from ivory poachers, listening to the plight of female coffee farmers in Timor-Leste, defending LGBT rights in places like Uganda.
He ended by saying:
At stake in this election is control of a Tea Party-run Congress, at least one Supreme Court vacancy that could tip the balance for a generation, and the very real chance that a highly unstable demagogue could become the 45th president of the United States. So while I may not have imagined myself saying this a few years ago, I certainly believe it now: It's far more important to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 than it was to elect Barack Obama in 2008.
In my gut, I know Hillary Clinton will be one of the United States greatest Presidents. Her vision, brilliance, experience and passion will lift all Americans. My first contact with Hillary was in 1990 when she keynoted an education conference in Little Rock. She spoke from her heart, with incredible specificity, about education and the need to ensure every child received an education allowing them to reach their God-given potential. She committed to fighting for a quality education for every child. She understood we need to provide that no matter where a child is born whether Little Rock, Arkansas, Harlem, New York or Beverly Hills, California. Hillary has never given up the fight to make that a reality.
For twenty-five years Hillary has faced vicious attacks from the Republican Party. Whitewater, Travelgate, the Vince Foster rumors, to Benghazi today. Never has it been shown Hillary did anything wrong. Through it all she stood tall and continued to work for people; fighting for universal healthcare and to make adoption easier as first lady; fighting for the rights of first responders and healthcare for members of the national guard after 9/11 as Senator from New York; and as Secretary of State putting together the coalition which led to the agreement ensuring Iran wouldn't have a nuclear weapon now and giving us time to work to see they never will.
My belief and trust in her never wavered. My admiration has only grown as she courageously spoke out for women in Beijing in 1995 and for the LGBT community in Geneva in 2011. Today she speaks out forcefully on the need to face head-on the systemic racism that exists in our country, the need to reform our immigration system, the need to guarantee full equality for the LGBT community and to ensure Wall Street will never again harm Main Street.
Hillary's vision for our future is clear. When she said thank you to the people of South Carolina for the victory they gave her she spoke of so many of our hopes and dreams. She said, "Today you sent a message: in America, when we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break. Our victory is for the entrepreneur who told me more dreams die in the parking lots of banks than anywhere else. And that's especially true for women and people of color. So we're going to work together to give people -- particularly young people -- the tools you need to start that small business you've been dreaming of.
It is for the reverend -- a presiding elder of the AME Church -- who looked at all the violence and division in our country and asked me the other night, "How? How are we ever going to strengthen the bonds of family and community again?" Well, we're going to start by working together with more love and kindness in our hearts and more respect for each other, even when we disagree. Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again: America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers. We need to show by everything we do that we really are in this together."
Hillary spoke to all our better angels when she said in a clear and resonant voice, "Imagine what we can all build together, when each and every American has the chance to live up to his or her potential. Imagine a tomorrow where no child grows up in the shadow of discrimination or under the specter of deportation. Imagine a tomorrow where every parent can find a good job, and every grandparent can enjoy a secure retirement. Imagine a tomorrow where hard work is honored, where families are supported, and where communities are strong; when we trust and respect each other despite all that divides us." She went on to quote I Corinthians 13, "Love never fails," it tells us. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
She closed by sharing what so many of us who are honest with ourselves know, "We have so much to look forward to. There is no doubt in my mind that America's best years can be ahead of us. We have got to believe that! We've got to work for that! We have to stand with each other, we have to hold each other up, lift each other up! Move together into the future that we will make!"