Hillary Rodham Clinton holds in her hands the hopes and desires of many but none more than the women and girls here in the United States and those who look to the United States around the world.
She represents the fulfillment of what I am sure many of our fore-mothers erroneously believed about the Declaration of Independence and that was that they were meant to be included in these most famous lines, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Women learned and had confirmed for them again in the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution that it wasn't true. The simple words of that amendment first written by Alice Paul in 1923 and finally passed by both houses of Congress in 1972 failed to get enough state legislatures to pass it. The sentiment rejected was, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
So our Constitution, admired by people around the world, is an unfinished document purposely not granting full equality to more than half the population. Its preamble reads:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
As late as the 1980s, when the fight for the ERA was lost, Americans said they were not ready to ensure that women could see themselves in the statement "We the People." Hillary Clinton's election in 2016 would declare to the world that the United States is now ready to include all people in order to form a "more perfect union."
GOP consultant Katie Packer Gage was quoted in a Hill newspaper article saying about Hillary, "Women are not necessarily a group that feels in need of a champion." She totally misses the point about Hillary. Hillary can be elected because at one time or another all people feel the need for a champion. She is more than just a champion for women's rights and the rights of girls to get a fair shot at success. She has become a champion for those who have worked their entire lives and fear not being able to leave their children a better life and safer world. Whether it is her work for the Children's Defense Fund, rebuilding the education system in Arkansas, fighting for health care for all Americans or as secretary of state, she is a champion to many around the world.
Champions aren't always universally loved. But even many of those who don't see her as their champion respect her intelligence and incredible work ethic. They understand, whether they agree with her or not, Hillary has lived her life guided by a steadfast set of principles leading her to help others be all they can be. Her faith has played a big part in her life and while she may not attend church each Sunday she is clearly a religious person. Brought up a Methodist she often attended services with her daughter at the Foundry United Methodist Church in the District of Columbia; a congregation with a strong commitment to community service.
Many know that a Hilary Rodham Clinton campaign in 2016 will be different from the one her consultants crafted in 2008. Hillary appears to have reached a stage in her life where she is totally comfortable being true to who she is and speaking out as the brilliant and caring person she is. When Hillary's feelings and beliefs share the stage with her knowledge she always shines. When she doesn't follow a script written by campaign consultants but rather follows her heart she wins.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is recognized as a world leader with more background and experience in policy and diplomacy than any person ever to run for president. Lest anyone forget her courage, they must remember Hillary as the woman who stood up and spoke from her heart in 1995 at the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. There she called on the world community "to protect women against violence, improve their access to health services and education and give them more self-determination." The most quoted line from that speech is:
"It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights. It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls."
No one could question that Hillary was a champion then.
This is the Hillary Rodham Clinton who, if she runs and is elected president in 2016, will move us another giant step toward forming a "more perfect union" and finishing the business of our democracy.