Here is a link to the complete transcript of Hillary Clinton’s June 13, 2015 campaign launch for President of the United States of America given on Roosevelt Island in New York city, and here are the concluding words of that speech:
“I wish my mother could have been with us longer. I wish she could have seen Chelsea become a mother herself. I wish she could have met Charlotte. I wish she could have seen the America we’re going to build together. An America, where if you do your part, you reap the rewards. Where we don’t leave anyone out, or anyone behind. An America where a father can tell his daughter: yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States. Thank you all. God bless you. And may God bless America.”
It is a wonderful speech and no doubt I and nearly everyone else would agree with almost all of it, but it ended on the words I bolded in the quotation above. My heartfelt complaint is that it concluded with an impossibility, that with a slight tweaking of the words I wouldn’t be complaining; but to conclude a carefully prepared statement that is going to be central to striving for the most important office in the world with a preposterous statement of outright insanity gives me the willies. I am sensitized to this issue by a lie perpetrated over a hundred years ago within sight of where Hillary was standing, a lie that is still retold every Christmas in the media: “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus!”
The problem is that beautiful lies that people desperately wish to be true have a profound effect on people and upon whole societies. Stop lying to Virginia about Santa Claus. Lying hurts children! Of course Hillary’s speech was going out to adults, and they are expected to accept her words as idealized affirmations that we should all strive toward the best that we can be. Unfortunately, adults are easily swayed by impossible aspirations, like, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe”. That statement by Saint Augustine in 400 AD exposed the minds of all Europeans for a thousand years to impossible dreams of a heavenly life after death. Unfortunately, instead of heaven it brought into being the Dark Ages of decreasing wisdom and increasing squalor for a whole continent of people living real lives.
The simple and obvious fact is that of the three-hundred million Americans only one of them can be President, and to say “Yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President of the United States” is for almost every single American a falsehood and a lie. To promote the idea that you can strive to be President or to be an NBA basketball player can make sense if there are a whole bundle of preconditions in place. But try as she might even Hillary couldn’t make it as a center on any of those basketball teams, and there are twenty times as many NBA jobs as centers as there are positions for President. To tell someone they can and should strive for the impossible is going to bring them to grief. I think I can safely say, Hillary Clinton can become the first female President of the United States and you can’t, no matter how much you might want to.
Creating impossible dreams brings people to failure, disillusionment, grief, despondency, and early death.