Former President Bill Clinton was at NCSU today to speak about the growing inter-dependence in a globalised world, the need for each of us to think about “How to”, and then acting upon it. And he made a strong case for his views. I came back impressed with his earnest for solving the problems of poverty and hunger, words which echo in millions of homes in India and numerous other places on our planet. President Clinton had his numbers all set, he hardly glanced at any paper during his 30+ minute speech.
This was also an opportunity to see how Americans conduct themselves in the presence of a President and how the (former) President conducts himself. And what did I see? I saw informality mingling with intent in a most wonderful way. There was no space for needlessly long introductions or subservience. The event started 15 odd minutes behind the scheduled hour of 10:30 am, but when it did, President Clinton was on the podium and talking within 5 minutes.
I have a grudge about not being able to take pictures because of conflicting answers on whether cameras will be allowed. I wanted to risk it and take my camera, but did not because of the security concerns. I would have done fine had I done otherwise. Not just me, even my American friend was surprised by the “absence” of security. Tickets were checked most casually. No body checks, no metal detectors. In the words of my friend: “There is more security at a hockey game!”. And those who had more experience of attending Presidential speeches than I, happily brought their cameras and clicked away until I burnt my seat with envy.