Hillary Clinton closed her sweeping policy speech Monday on an inspirational note that seems to be setting her 2016 presidential campaign into forward motion. In what her campaign billed as a major economic address, Clinton laid out her plans for wage and job growth, particularly for still-struggling middle class Americans. But instead of focusing solely on the here-and-now, the perceived Democratic frontrunner used future generations who will reap the potential benefits as an incentive to repair the economy.
"I confess, maybe it’s the grandmother in me, but I believe that part of public service is planting trees under whose shade you’ll never sit," Clinton said at the end of her address. It's a poetically powerful line — one that's actually credited as a Chinese proverb, and used often by current Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. (A version of that quote is also frequently attributed to Granholm.)
The vision I’ve laid our here today – for strong growth, fair growth, and long term growth, all working together — will get incomes rising again, will help working families get ahead and stay ahead. That is the test of our time. And I’m inviting everyone to please join me, to do your part, that’s what great countries do.
Clinton's closing message doubles as an opening line. It seems like Clinton is using this idea to fuel her burgeoning campaign, which has seen the former Secretary of State testing the liberal waters against biggest challenger Senator Bernie Sanders — a self-identified Democratic Socialist who has an established track record on income inequality reform. Clinton is also using the sentiment to tease her Republican challengers, who may be running on promising taglines but have struggled to win over middle-class Americans.
As others, including EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, have noted, Clinton's speech was also fiercely intersectional, with a promise to break down barriers for future generations of all sexes, races, and classes. "I want every child, every child in our country, not just the granddaughter of a former President or a former secretary of state, but every child to have the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential," Clinton said at the close.
Schriock called Clinton "exactly the kind of leader we need to move this country forward," adding in a statement sent to Bustle:
As [Clinton] said today, ‘We are in a global competition... and we can't afford to leave talent on the sidelines.’ Republicans know this, but they keep pushing the same old tired, trickle-down economic agenda anyway. Today, there's no question that that agenda has failed miserably. Trickle-down economic policies have been failing women and families for decades. It's 2015, and it's time for a leader with an economic agenda that focuses directly on everyday Americans' success, instead of treating them like an afterthought.