Excerpted from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2006 commencement address to C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, May 14, 2006.

...Now as a mother myself, I'm anxious about the future, but I'm optimistic at the same time. I have the same concerns that my mother had for me and my brothers when we were growing up and going out into the world. But we know so much more now than was known before. You can't get away from what's happening in the world. The world it's said has shrunk or become flat. We're connected in ways we never were before. So how do we deal with these new challenges?

Well, the other day I was speaking about my concerns for the future. And I said that I wanted to make sure that young people would work hard because we're in competition with jobs. When I was sitting where you are now, I didn't have to worry about competition from China or India. That was just the furthest thing from my mind. There were no global pressures like you will face as you mark your own way. And I said, you know, we need to get every young person to really get a sense of commitment and to work hard. Well, my daughter heard that I said that and she called and she said, “Mom, I do work hard and my friends work hard.” And I said, “I know that. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to convey any impression that you don't work hard. I just want to set the bar high because we are in a competition for the future.” We can't take anybody or anything for granted.

Everyday when I meet with people around our state I hear about jobs being outsourced to China or India. And these are not jobs of factory workers, these are jobs of engineers and jobs of radiologists. You can go to a hospital here on Long Island as I did last year and you can see the electronic Internet connection that allows an X-ray taken on Long Island to be read by a radiologist in India. So we do have to be prepared. We are in a competition for the future, and I want your generation, my daughter's generation, which has some of the smartest, hardest working, socially conscious young people we ever had in America, to be prepared to take on these unprecedented challenges and to stand up for issues about the challenges of globalization or global warming or genocide in Darfur or terrorism because we are going to need your minds, your hearts and your souls to campaign and win on every one of those fronts for the future....

You know, often our most fearsome competitor is ourselves. We struggle with all of the internal doubts and anxieties, fears for the future concerns for the world. Sometimes when I look at what's happening in the world, it's hard to imagine going out and doing anything of meaning. But we can do it and not only that, we must. America needs you to grab hold of this moment....

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad