Hillary and Chelsea Clinton have had innumerable role models to look up to throughout their lives.
On Wednesday evening, the two women spoke of some of those who made a difference for them as they stopped at Pace University’s Goldstein Health, Fitness and Recreation Center for the final night of their book tour promoting their first collaborative work, “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.”
The book contains essays and portraits of more than 100 women or groups of women from various generations, cultures and areas of interest, from Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate, to astronaut Sally Ride to Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize after spearheading a campaign to plant 50 million trees on her native continent.
They said the women, some of whom persevered despite placing their safety at risk, have been an inspiration for millions of others who have had to overcome derision and the limitations placed on them by others.
“You can’t imagine being able to keep doing that unless you were optimistic, not only optimistic about yourself, as hard as that is, that you can get right up and face the challenges and think about what other people are capable of doing,” Hillary Clinton said.
Chelsea Clinton compared the struggles and accomplishments of many of the women they wrote about to today’s climate in the United States.
“Optimism is a moral choice, and I just think we have to make the moral choice to be optimistic because this is not the world, it is so fundamentally not the world I want for my children or any child to grow up in,” said Chelsea Clinton, who teaches public health at Columbia University.
The hour-long discussion was moderated by singer and entertainer and Chappaqua resident Vanessa Williams in front of hundreds of appreciative spectators. It also came on the night that President Donald Trump was impeached, an issue that Williams raised to Hillary Clinton almost immediately after the start of the program.
Clinton said that she has been heartened that a majority of Americans believe the president should be impeached with respect to his dealing with Ukraine, which she contended presents a national security risk. Only once referring to Trump, her 2016 presidential opponent, by name, Clinton said whatever the outcome of the Senate trial “it’s really important that I do everything I can to retire the incumbent regardless of what happens.”
“The facts are not in dispute. This is not a he-said, she-said,” Clinton said. “Here’s what happened: the president, his chief of staff, the people working for him, experienced nonpartisan diplomats, career military officers, everyone has had the same story, and it is a story of abuse of power, using the office of the presidency to further not the nation’s objectives but his own personal objectives, and that is exactly the kind of actions that the founders warned us about.”
Chelsea and Hillary Clinton compared their very different experiences and expectations in their formative years. Hillary Clinton said when growing up in the 1950s in suburban Chicago, the only women she saw working outside the home were her schoolteachers and librarians. When she was a young lawyer in Arkansas, women attorneys were a novelty.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton said she had inspirations from women such as her pediatrician, the mayor of Little Rock, where she was born, and Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to be on a national ticket as Democratic challenger Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984.
Hillary Clinton advised women, who often must overcome double standards that are imposed on them, to not take themselves too seriously and learn to accept criticism but to surround themselves with people they can trust.
“Find solidarity with other women and men to support you in your career, in your business or profession, whatever it might be,” she said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/