By Caroline Ryan
Former United States President Bill Clinton spoke to a sold out audience at the Tilles Center on Thursday, Oct. 5.
The event, hosted by former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel and the LIU Global Institute, featured Clinton speaking for nearly an hour on topics including global issues, his wife’s presidential campaign, and the current White House administration.
The event then switched to a Q & A session with Israel, focused on a number of important topics making news headlines today, such as gun violence, college debt, North Korea, and immigration.
Throughout the night, Clinton spoke about embracing our differences as Americans and working together. Our goal should be “to build more inclusive prosperity, more inclusive societies…and more inclusive politics,” Clinton said.
“In this age, you can build all the walls you want; we are still interconnected,” Clinton said. He stressed that it’s what brings people together that’s more important than the things that divide us.
Abraham Orenstein, a senior broadcasting major at LIU Post was one of the LIU Post students who attended the event, along with many members of the local community.
He said he was impressed with the speech, although he described himself as a Sanders supporter with no love for the Clintons.
“I thought it was a really strong speech that focused on embracing our differences and coming together,” Orenstein said.
Clinton also spoke about the Electoral College which ultimately put Donald Trump in the presidency, although Hillary Clinton won popular vote. “Since I believe in democracy, I believe the person who gets the most votes should win,” he said.
The audience applauded when Clinton spoke about college affordability. “We should do whatever we can to have the maximum amount of people graduate debt-free,” he said, adding that our goal should be for every student from a non-rich family to get out of college without any debt.
On the topic of North Korea, Clinton said that North Korea’s Dictator, Kim Jong Un, has “done and said enough to be of grave concern.”
However, Clinton admitted that he didn’t know much more about the current situation than what we read in the news. Clinton did, however, caution our current administration, warning that we should know exactly what we are getting into before taking any action. The Trump administration should work with South Korea, China, Japan and Russia on handling North Korea, Clinton said.
Israel asked Clinton what international challenge had made him “toss and turn the most” during his presidency.
“I was always worried about Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida because he came from a wealthy family and he lived in a cave, which should tell you something – he believed what he was doing,” Clinton said.
Gun control, in light of the recent massacre in Las Vegas, was also discussed. “You do not need this to defend yourself,” Clinton stated about bump stocks, devices which allow semi-automatic weapons to mimic the firing speed of a fully automatic weapon. Clinton recommended “giving the voters the direct voice on this; they trust themselves more than they trust the politicians,” he said.
Michael Themistocleous, a 2017 Post alumnus who works at the Tilles Center as its guest services manager, said that the Tilles Center staff worked with the Nassau County Police Department, the former president’s secret service, and the Old Brookville Police to ensure everyone’s safety during the event.
“I’m really happy about the Global Institute being a part of LIU. Steve Israel’s knowledge and connections can really enlighten everyone on campus, on both sides of the spectrum,” he said.
The Global Institute is partnering next with the Hutton House lecture series, a non-credit enrichment program for senior adults, for a book event on “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” by Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen.
The event will be held in Lorber Hall on the LIU Post campus on Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. For more information about Hutton House, go to http://www.liu.edu/CWPost/Academics/School-of-Professional-and-Continuing-Education/Programs/The-Hutton-House-Lectures.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.