“There will always be something to argue about.” Former president speaks on the importance of cooperation
Former President Bill Clinton spoke at the First United Bank Center on April 24. The former president attracted people young and old, who listened to his remarks on the Flight 93 Memorial, his time as president and the current issues in America and abroad.
“The most interesting thing to me, today is what I think is a disconnect in what works in America in real life and what works in America in politics,” Clinton said. “In politics, what works is division and argument…what works in real life is when we have networks of cooperation with people who know different things, have different skills, and look at problems in different ways.”
Clinton pointed to successful areas of the country, such as Silicon Valley and the rise of computer simulation technology in Florida, but also brought attention to problems such as rising childhood obesity, the energy crisis, and healthcare.
“Don’t let people tell you America’s best days are behind us. Every single challenge we have is fixable and requires reform, but it’s fixable,” he said.
He compared the country’s issues to that which are currently plaguing Europe, the Caribbean islands and Haiti.
“Seventy percent of Haiti were living on less than $2 a day before the earthquake,” he said.
Clinton also talked about personal anecdotes about his time in and out of office, including moments with Former President George W. Bush.
“[He] didn’t like me worth a flip because I beat his dad [in the 1992 election], and I told him that,” he said. “I said, ‘you don’t like me, and I don’t blame you.’”
Now, the former presidents are working together with House Speaker John Boehner on raising funds for the Flight 93 Memorial, a memorial honoring those who died in Shanksville, Penn. on 9/11.
“The people on Flight 93 were ordinary men and women, they didn’t sign up for battle. They had to decide in an instant whether they were going to derail that flight,” said Clinton.
WTAMU donated $100,000 to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund, which Clinton announced would be matched by the National Park Foundation dollar-for-dollar.
“So really, [WT] raised $200,000,” he said.
The former president spoke for an hour-and-a-half and also answered some student-submitted questions. Many attendees crowded the stage after the event to shake his hand.
“He was just as dynamic as I thought he was going to be,” Carey Bennett, an attendee from Wakesfield, Vermont, said. “Everything he said made a lot of sense to me and it was extremely relevant.”
Stephanie Williams, a book promotions manager for Hastings Entertainment and WT alum, had always wanted to hear President Clinton speak.
“I think the most inspiring thing he had to say was that it wasn’t about what kind of politics you believe in or what status you are in the economy,” Williams said. “It’s about the greater good and making the world a better place. I think that’s the best thing a politician could say because it’s the most honest thing that the world needs to hear.”