As you’ve probably already heard from readers and now stars and viewers of The Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian sci-fi story is chillingly relevant today. The latest person to make this observation was none other than Hillary Clinton herself.
Speaking at an event celebrating Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary on Tuesday night, the former secretary of state referenced the recent Hulu series, as well as author Margaret Atwood in her speech.
“What a time it is to be holding this centennial. Just ask those who’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale, a book I read and was captivated by years ago,” said Clinton as she addressed the room.
She then went on to elaborate on her reference, tempering the bleakness it implied. “I am not suggesting this dystopian future is around the corner, but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy,” Clinton continued. “In The Handmaid’s Tale, women’s rights are gradually, slowly stripped away. As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ It is not too late for us, but we have to encourage the millions of women and men who support Planned Parenthood’s mission to keep fighting.”
She added: “To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, ‘We can never let them grind us down.’”
This last quote, in particular, is a reference to a phrase Offred (the titular handmaid played by Elisabeth Moss) finds carved in her room and draws comfort from: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” which she translates into, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in Gilead, a theocratic military dictatorship, and follows the story of Offred as she’s made to serve as a surrogate because of the drastically declining birthrates.
Clinton also referenced her recent penchant for taking long hikes amidst nature in the speech, joking, “I highly recommend long walks in the woods. It’s far healthier than screaming at your televisions.”