ELEANOR & HILLARY with Blanche Wiesen Cook

Eleanor and Hillary with Blanche Wiesen Cook

In her ground-breaking speech at the 2016 Democratic Convention on Monday, Michelle Obama once again showed the power of a First Lady.

The position of a First Lady has been one outlet through which women's voices have resonated important messages to America since the founding of the Nation. Abigail Adams's voice ("Remember the ladies") has resonated for two centuries, and Eleanor Roosevelt's words and attitudes, for decades. Now Hillary, who was on the small list of First Ladies who changed America, has moved in a new direction. She hopes to enter the WHITE HOUSE again, but this time as President. A woman's voice, even an important woman's voice, will no longer be a side bar.

VOICES4HILLARY recently had the pleasure of talking with Blanche Wiesen Cook, Distinguished Professor of History at John Jay College in the City University of New York, author of the best selling biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, volumes I and II, and the soon-to-be published volume III. Here is what she had to say about the two most activist First Ladies in US History.

VOICES4HILLARY: What do you think Eleanor would say about the idea of a former First Lady running and ultimately becoming President of the United States?

BLANCHE WIESEN COOK: ER believed that democracy depended on organized movements, activist movements. She refused to run for office because women were not organized sufficiently to be elected, or respected. NOW women are organized and we must fortify our movements for change -- as ER encouraged us to do from the l920s forward: door to door, block by block.

V4H: What are your thoughts about moving from First Lady to President?

BWC: What wonderful insider knowledge -- from the WHITE HOUSE to the WHITE HOUSE, with years as secretary of state confronting the most perilous global issues. A politician, a diplomat, a leader for our time -- a time of danger and peril requiring keen judgment, agile teamwork, profound understanding.

Eleanor Roosevelt fought for racial and economic justice back in the day.

V4H: What qualities do you think Hillary shares with Eleanor?

Hillary channeling Eleanor, at the statue of ER in Riverside Park, NYC.

BWC: Like many strong women attorneys, educators, leaders in all fields, WOMEN are the BEST MULTI-TASKERS! Wives, mothers, organizers, agitators. Specifically, ER and HRC share a belief that peace requires economic security, education and training for all; full employment, health care and housing, dignity and respect. The l935 social security act was meant to have medical security -- what we now call "single payer " which exists in all industrial nations; the AMA lobbied it to death from FDR to DDE -- when ER and her life-long friend Esther Lape lobbied for national health; subsequently, the AMA controlled health reinsurance corporations limited the vision of HRC & Obama; now we must go forward -- on all these progressive fronts -- ER called for FREE public higher education as early as l943; she championed continuing life-long adult education for re-training, independence, personal empowerment! Debt free education is a human right -- HRC and ER share the best values for the future, a people's economy without a predator class of truly greedy folks who own and control elections in order to plunder democracy, a harmonious environment to sustain life on this one world we all do happen to share.

Many of us have been surprised by the level of racism that reared its ugly head aimed at President Obama during his presidency. Do you think sexism will do the same during a Hillary presidency?Racism and sexism are at large, world-wide; we must end the abuse of women and minorities world-wide; our movements for peace and freedom, women's rights and human rights must be fortified in every community to battle the scourge of horror and hate which defines the 21st century.

V4H: Why are you supporting Hillary Clinton?

BWC: HRC is the candidate of VISION and HOPE! for justice, equity, human rights and DIGNITY FOR ALL.


July 2016

Show Comments ()


Follow Us On


On Social