Former President Bill Clinton preached unity during a speech that touched on a wide range of topics at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post in Brookville last week.
The Democrat also critiqued the administration of Republican President Donald Trump, who beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—the ex-president’s wife—in last year’s elections.
“I think the most fundamental fact of the modern world is our interconnectedness,” the 42nd president told the sold-out audience on Thursday, Oct. 5. “The rise of ethnic tribalism around the world… is a feature of modern politics in nation after nation after nation, depending often on how people get their information and how it gets communicated to them. But no matter what, in this age you can build all the walls you want, we are still connected.”
Clinton was the latest speaker to appear at LIU Post as a part of the lecture series organized by the university’s Global Institute founded and chaired by former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who retired from Congress in January.
Israel, who noted the military acronym for the geopolitical climate is VUCA—short for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous—led an hour-long Q&A with Clinton to dissect current affairs.
Asked about gun control in the wake of last week’s massacre in Las Vegas—the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in US history—Clinton suggested that the issue be put on ballots as a referendum.
“I recommend giving voters a direct voice on this,” he said. “They trust themselves more than they trust the politicians.”
On the one of the most pressing international issues of late, Clinton said Trump should work with Russia, China, South Korea and Japan in confronting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who “has done and said more than enough to be of grave concern.”
Regarding an issue impacting the wallets of those in the university audience, Clinton said there should be grants, tax credits and other options to help “non-rich” college students pursue their education.
“We should do whatever we can to have the maximum amount of people graduate debt-free,” he said.
And while referencing his wife winning the national popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots in November, Clinton took a shot at Trump’s Electoral College victory.
“Since I believe in democracy,” he said, “I believe the person who gets the most votes should win.”