BY BONNIE SQUIRES/ Atlantic City may have the Miss America pageant back, but Philadelphia had Hillary Clinton for the Liberty Medal ceremony at the National Constitution Center – and that’s worth a lot more! Especially since both Penn President Amy Gutmann, who chaired the selection committee, and Mayor Michael Nutter both included in their remarks their expectation Hillary would become the first woman President of the United States. And the first First Lady to walk back into the White House as the President.
The video depicting Hillary Clinton’s life and accomplishments included the fact that in college and even before, she was a passionate Republican. But the Vietnam War changed her perspective and she went from being a Goldwater girl to being a supporter of Eugene McCarthy.
Hillary’s political career began, however, when she was president of the student body at Wellesley. And when she departed from her prepared remarks at graduation to rebut Republican Sen. Ted Brooke’s defense of Nixon and the war in Vietnam to disagree with him. Hillary got the standing ovation.
Marjorie Margolies, whose son is married to Chelsea Clinton, figured in two videos because of her role as executive director of the American delegation to Beijing in 1995 to the 4th United Nations Conference on Women. That was the arena in which First Lady Hillary Clinton declared, “Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”
I spotted Marjorie on a balcony for major sponsors in the company of NCC trustee Lewis Katz.
Hillary, ever conscious of the presence of Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), who is now the chairman of the board of trustees of the NCC, talked of Bill Clinton’s annual “play date” at Kennebunkport with George H.W. Bush, saying that she and Jeb Bush are not just renewing the tradition of bipartisanship, but also continuing a family tradition.
The Secretary pointed out the mission of the NCC is to illuminate the Constitution, its ideals, and to inspire active citizenship. She made certain to mention Seneca Falls and the convention which declared women as equal to men, a concept not included in the original Constitution but added to by Amendments. She said we are still on the move to a “more perfect union.”
Because the anniversary of 9/11 fell on the day after the Liberty Medal ceremony, Hillary mentioned her visit as New York Senator to Ground Zero on Sep. 12, 2001, calling it “Dante’s Inferno.”
The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington and a reference to Syria’s attack on its own citizens also figured in her remarks. She even acknowledged the handful of protestors across the street from the ceremony.
Perhaps most importantly, Hillary said, “America’s democracy is not a birthright. Must be earned by every generation.” The 1,300 people in the audience certainly expressed appreciation for her remarks.