Bill Clinton had a captive audience Thursday night at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The former POTUS has teamed up with best-selling author James Patterson to write a novel, “The President is Missing.” It’s the fictional story of a president who disappears as he tries to prevent an apocalyptic cyber-attack. While most of the conversation on Thursday revolved around the book, Clinton admitted, “having an event in Chicago that’s not political is an oxymoron.” Thus, the President found ways to tie the topics in the book to the real-life events happening today.
The topics, among others, were:
Cyber-Terrorism: the main plot of the book is a gigantic cyber-attack against the United States of America. Clinton’s take was that it could be a very real threat in the real world. He said that we were the country that invented the internet, so there is no real reason for us not to be the best at stopping attacks. Clinton warned the audience that without significant investment into cyber-security, we could all become vulnerable.
The #MeToo Movement: although there were no references to his scandalous past and no questions were taken from the audience, it was noted that aside from the fictional president in “The President is Missing” most of the powerful characters in the book are females – including the main bad guy. Clinton remarked that he wanted to show females in positions of authority because the women’s movement was way overdue.
North Korea: Right before Clinton left office, his administration was close to a deal with Kim Jung Un’s grandfather to strike a disarmament, only to have it pulled away at the last minute. Even with that experience Clinton said that peace was possible, but only if we all worked together. He urged the partisan crowd that we should all be together on this issue and to root for peace.
Immigration: The only direct criticism of the current administration Clinton had was on the topic of family separation on the southern border, “It’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s not required by the law. Children should not be bargaining chips.” He went on to say that separating children from their families made no sense and in the long term will harm the United States.
Political (cable) News: Clinton lamented that running a news organization is tough these days because the only thing people are buying is conflict. And that leads to a more polarized country. Instead of watching the Sunday Morning Political shows, he advised the audience to either go to church or sleep in. Just getting the facts without the vitriol is what is important.
Clinton said that writing fiction can sometimes be “more accurate than what’s going on.” In this chaotic political climate it was a nice to see someone speak intelligently about issues, without the screaming or bluster that seems all too prevalent these days.
Photos by K. Joseph Fotos