Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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While South Dakota got exercised yesterday because Tom Daschle was giving a major speech in Des Moines, and while the nation continued to divide itself because George W. Bush was getting snubbed by leaders and vilified by protesters in Brazil, Bill Clinton was speaking last night in Minneapolis.
According to a political analyst I worked with in another state (he detests being called a poltical scientist, but prefers to be called a scholar), former politcal leaders, whether termed out or displaced, are often more important in shaping policy than the leaders who hold office. That is because, he says, they can discuss political issues without worrying about the effect on the ballot box. They speak from experience, knowledge, and a proven record of performance. Even if people disagree with their politics, they listen with interest to what they say. So, last night Tom Daschle and Bill Clinton were speaking to issues in ways that may well shape the way the public thinks about them.
Bill Clinton said Saturday night that America's safety and security in the future depends on how it acts today - while it's still the only global superpower. The direction that the world takes will be largely determined by the influence and leadership the U.S. demonstrates.
Clinton urged the development of world trade as a means to reduce the poverty in undeveloped countries, which he said is at the root of much of the animosity against the U.S. Meanwhile, George Bush met stern rebuffs from Latin American leaders as he sought to establish a western hemisphere trading zone in the Americas.
To many people in the Americas, including growing numbers in the U.S., free trade is the means that global corporations use to enthrall people under capitalist imperialism. There is clearly something that Bill Clinton needs to explain, in light of the growing resentment and opposition to free trade.
We hope he speaks further on this issue and clarifies so that Americans will know and understand the distinctions between global totalitarianism and free trade that supports the people in the world who do the work.
You want more on Clinton's speech? Do a search on the Google News engine: http://news.google.com/news?ned=us&topic=n