演讲的题目叫作 Dare to Compete, Dare to Care（敢于竞争，勇于关爱）。这篇演讲稿前半篇提到了自己参加美国参议院竞选活动，走上从政这条道路，缘于一件事。那时她还没有想好是否要竞选，这对她来说是一个艰难的决定，以前从未考虑过这件事。
这就是我为什么想分享这篇希拉里的演讲。当我们对着机会犹豫不决甚至往后退缩的时候，需要有这样的文章告诉你，即使是希拉里，她也有过这样的时刻，你所要做的就是hold on, lean in，坚持住，向前一步。无论发生什么，即使有人在你背后大声喊叫，也要勇往直前。
It is such an honor and pleasure for me to be back at Yale, especially on the occasion of the 300th anniversary. I have had so many memories of my time here, and as Nick was speaking I thought about how I ended up at Yale Law School. And it tells a little bit about how much progress we’ve made.
What I think most about when I think of Yale is not just the politically charged atmosphere and not even just the superb legal education that I received. It was at Yale that I began work that has been at the core of what I have cared about ever since. I began working with New Haven legal services representing children. And I studied child development, abuse and neglect at the Yale New Haven Hospital and the Child Study Center. I was lucky enough to receive a civil rights internship with Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund, where I went to work after I graduated. Those experiences fueled in me a passion to work for the benefit of children, particularly the most vulnerable.
Now, looking back, there is no way that I could have predicted what path my life would have taken. I didn’t sit around the law school, saying, well, you know, I think I’ll graduate and then I’ll go to work at the Children’s Defense Fund, and then the impeachment inquiry, and Nixon retired or resigns, I’ll go to Arkansas. I didn’t think like that. I was taking each day at a time.
But, I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve always had an idea in my mind about what I thought was important and what gave my life meaning and purpose. A set of values and beliefs that have helped me navigate the shoals, the sometimes very treacherous sea, to illuminate my own true desires, despite that others say about what l should care about and believe in. A passion to succeed at what l thought was important and children have always provided that lone star, that guiding light. Because l have that absolute conviction that every child, especially in this, the most blessed of nations that has ever existed on the face of earth, that every child deserves the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential.
But you know that belief and conviction-it may make for a personal mission statement, but standing alone, not translated into action, it means very little to anyone else, particularly to those for whom you have those concerns.
When I was thinking about running for the United States Senate-which was such an enormous decision to make, one I never could have dreamed that I would have been making when I was here on campus-I visited a school in New York City and I met a young woman, who was a star athlete.
I was there because of Billy Jean King promoting an HBO special about women in sports called “Dare to compete.” It was about Title IX and how we finally, thanks to government action, provided opportunities to girls and women in sports.
And although I played not very well at intramural sports, I have always been a strong supporter of women in sports. And I was introduced by this young woman, and as I went to shake her hand she obviously had been reading the newspapers about people saying I should or shouldn’t run for the Senate. And I was congratulating her on the speech she had just made and she held onto my hand and she said, “Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton. Dare to compete.”
I took that to heart because it is hard to compete sometimes, especially in public ways, when your failures are there for everyone to see and you don’t know what is going to happen from one day to the next. And yet so much of life, whether we like to accept it or not, is competing with ourselves to be the best we can be, being involved in classes or professions or just life, where we know we are competing with others.
I took her advice and I did compete because I chose to do so. And the biggest choices that you’ll face in your life will be yours alone to make. I’m sure you’ll receive good advice. You’re got a great education to go back and reflect about what is right for you, but you eventually will have to choose and I hope that you will dare to compete. And by that I don’t mean the kind of cutthroat competition that is too often characterized by what is driving America today. I mean the small voice inside you that says to you, you can do it, you can take this risk, you can take this next step.
And it doesn’t mean that once having made that choice you will always succeed. In fact, you won’t. There are setbacks and you will experience difficult disappointments. You will be slowed down and sometimes the breath will just be knocked out of you. But if you carry with you the values and beliefs that you can make a difference in your own life, first and foremost, and then in the lives of others. You can get back up, you can keep going.
But it is also important, as I have found, not to take yourself too seriously, because after all, every one of us here today, none of us is deserving of full credit. I think every day of the blessings my birth gave me without any doing of my own. I chose neither my family nor my country, but they as much as anything I’ve ever done, determined my course.
You compare my or your circumstances with those of the majority of people who’ve ever lived or who are living right now, they too often are born knowing too well what their futures will be. They lack the freedom to choose their life’s path. They’re imprisoned by circumstances of poverty and ignorance, bigotry, disease, hunger, oppression and war.
So, dare to compete, yes, but maybe even more difficult, dare to care. Dare to care about people who need our help to succeed and fulfill their own lives. There are so many out there and sometimes all it takes is the simplest of gestures or helping hands and many of you understand that already. I know that the numbers of graduates in the last 20 years have worked in community organizations, have tutored, have committed themselves to religious activities.
You have been there trying to serve because you have believed both that it was the right thing to do and because it gave something back to you. You have dared to care.
Well, dare to care to fight for equal justice for all, for equal pay for women, against hate crimes and bigotry. Dare to care about public schools without qualified teachers or adequate resources. Dare to care about protecting our environment. Dare to care about the 10 million children in our country who lack health insurance. Dare to care about the one and a half million children who have a parent in jail. The seven million people who suffer from HIV/AIDS. And thank you for caring enough to demand that our nation do more to help those that are suffering throughout this world with HIV/AIDS, to prevent this pandemic from spreading even further.
And I’ll also add, dare enough to care about our political process. You know, as I go and speak with students I’m impressed so much, not only in formal settings, on campuses, but with my daughter and her friends, about how much you care, about how willing you are to volunteer and serve. You may have missed the last wave of the dot.com revolution, but you’ve understood that the dot.community revolution is there for you every single day. And you’ve been willing to be part of remarking lives in our community.
And yet, there is a real resistance, a turning away from the political process. I hope that some of you will be public servants and will even run for office yourself, not to win a position to make and impression on your friends at your 20th reunion, but because you understand how important it is for each of us as citizens to make a commitment to our democracy.
Your generation, the first one born after the social upheavals of the 60’s and 70’s, in the midst of the technological advances of the 80’s and 90’s, are inheriting an economy, a society and a government that has yet to understand fully, or even come to grips with, our rapidly changing world.
And so bring your values and experiences and insights into politics. Dare to help make, not just a difference in politics, but create a different politics. Some have called you the generation of choice. You’ve been raised with multiple choice tests, multiple channels, multiple websites and multiple lifestyles. You’ve grown up choosing among alternatives that were either not imagined, created or available to people in prior generations. You’ve been invested with far more personal power to customize your life, to make more free choices about how to live than was ever thought possible. And I think as I look at all the surveys and research that is done, your choices reflect not only freedom, but personal responsibility.
The social indicators, not the headlines, the social indicators tell a positive story: drug use and cheating and arrests being down, been pregnancy and suicides, drunk driving deaths being down. Community service and religious involvement being up. But if you look at the area of voting among 18 to 29 year olds, the numbers tell a far more troubling tale. Many of you I know believe that service and community volunteerism is a better way of solving the issues facing our country than political engagement, because you believe-choose one of the following multiples or choose them all-government either can’t understand or won’t make the right choices because of political pressures, inefficiency, incompetence or big money influence.
Well, I admit there is enough truth in that critique to justify feeling disconnected and alienated. But at bottom, that’s a personal cop-out and a national peril. Political conditions maximize the conditions for individual opportunity and responsibility as well as community. Americorps and the Peace Corps exist because of political decisions. Our air, water, land and food will be clean and safe because of political choices. Our ability to cure disease or log onto the Internet have been advanced because of politically determined investments. Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo ended because of political leadership. Your parents and grandparents traveled here by means of government built and subsidized transportation systems. Many used GI Bills or government loans, as I did, to attend college.
Now, I could, as you might guess, go on and on, but the point is to remind us all that government is us and each generation has to stake its claim. And, as stakeholders, you will have to decide whether or not to make the choice to participate. It is hard and it is, bringing change in a democracy, particularly now. There’s so much about our modern times that conspire to lower our sights, to weaken our vision-as individuals and communities and even nations.
It is not the vast conspiracy you may have heard about; rather it’s a silent conspiracy of cynicism and indifference and alienation that we see every day, in our popular culture and in our prodigious consumerism.
But as many have said before and as Vaclav Havel has said to memorably, “It cannot suffice just to invent new machines, new regulations and new institutions. It is necessary to understand differently and more perfectly the true purpose of our existence on this Earth and of our deeds.” And I think we are called on to reject, in this time of blessings that we enjoy, those who will tear us apart and tear us down and instead to liberate our God-given spirit, by being willing to dare to dream of a better world.
During my campaign, when times were tough and days were long I used to think about the example of Harriet Tubman, a heroic New Yorker, a 19th century Moses, who risked her life to bring hundreds of slaves to freedom. She would say to those who she gathered up in the South where she kept going back year after year from the safety of Auburn, New York, that no matter what happens, they had to keep going. If they heard shouts behind them, they had to keep going. If they heard gunfire or dogs, they had to keep going to freedom. Well, those aren’t the risks we face. It is more the silence and apathy and indifference that dogs our heels.
Thirty-two years ago, I spoke at my own graduation from Wellesley, where I did call on my fellow classmates to reject the notion of limitations on our ability to effect change and instead to embrace the idea that the goal of education should be human liberation and the freedom to practice with all the skill of our being the art of making possible.
For after all, our fate is to be free. To choose competition over apathy, caring over indifference, vision over myopia, and love over hate.
Just as this is a special time in your lives, it is for me as well because my daughter will be graduating in four weeks, graduating also from a wonderful place with a great education and beginning a new life. And as I think about all the parents and grandparents who are out there, I have a sense of what their feeling. Their hearts are leaping with joy, but it’s hard to keep tears in check because the presence of our children at a time and place such as this is really a fulfillment of our own American dreams. Well, I applaud you and all of your love, commitment and hard work, just as I applaud your daughters and sons for theirs.
And I leave these graduates with the same message I hope to leave with my graduate. Dare to compete. Dare to care. Dare to dream. Dare to love. Practice the art of making possible. And no matter what happens, even if you hear shouts behind, keep going.
Thank you and God bless you all.