—Ralph Waldo Emerson
That Clinton has been active in the world, and has learned much from it, was plain to hear. Clinton now moralist, now anthropologist, now politician, now political scientist, now economist, now historian, now preacher, held forth to a capacity crowd in the Northrop Memorial Auditorium.
If you couldn’t get tickets, you will be able to hear his speech on MPR. In lieu of a transcript, here are my notes, for the Pie-Eyed record. Everything italicized, in “()”, “<>” or "" are my comments. Everything is roughly paraphrased; nothing is a direct quotation except where indicated by quotation marks.
Introduction by Walter Fritz Mondale
Clinton…actually listens, he can think, he can write, he can speak
Enter William Jefferson Clinton stage left
The headlines tomorrow should read: ‘Mondale’s Still Got It!’
(Referring to his over the top introduction by Mondale) Clinton’s third law of politics: always have yourself introduced by someone you appointed who will lie about you.
(Clinton gets down to the night’s business) …talk about the fundamental realities of the 21st century and what citizens can do about it to make it better. We live in an age of globalization, but I like to call it the age of interdependence. This can be good or bad. For most of us it is good. We want to know how to build up its positive forces and reduce its negative forces.
We need more integrated communities at every level—shared responsibilities, shared benefits, shared values. Many doubt that we can have shared values today. Can there be basic shared values? Yes. Though are differences should be celebrated and make life more interesting, our common humanity matters more than our differences.
Faith should not be turned into a political program.
Now, you don’t have to agree with my characterization, but you should ask yourself, what is the dominant characteristic of our age, and how can you make it better?
3 ways to make our world better:
1. We need a security strategy to combat terrorism and WMD. Since, in an interdependent world, we cannot track down and jail all our enemies, we need to build more partnerships and produce fewer enemies.
2. Millions needlessly die everywhere from preventable diseases. We know how to reduce poverty and attack these problems. The more America helps the rest of the world, the less anti-American sentiment abroad. "We related to them not in geopolitical terms but in human ones."
3. International institutions and reform of the UN. Why does anyone join any organization? Because you think you will be better off inside than outside. There would be no organizations, including marriages
Improvements that need to be made within our own country: 1. Health insurance. 2. Environment and energy policy. It is imperative that we adopt a clean energy policy to compete with China and India. 3. Balance the budget, reduce the deficit, don’t cut taxes for the rich, help the middle and lower classes achieve economic security.
"Don't use your disappointment [over election results] as an excuse to believe you are disempowered." Private citizens now have more power to contribute to the public good than ever before. “And it is important for you to know why.”
1. More than half the people in the world live in a democracy.
2. The Internet has become a powerful instrument of political action. Examples: number of small donations to political parties; amount of aid donated to tsunami and hurricane relief efforts. “It’s going to change everything.”
3. Rise of NGOs.
You are not disempowered for these three reasons: democracy, Internet, NGOs.
Global Warming is serious.