Blogger Meet-up With Bill Clinton

Vanessa and I had the opportunity yesterday to meet with Former President Bill Clinton along with a group of fabulous bloggers to discuss his work around the Clinton Foundation including his work with his many global initiatives that deal with climate change, HIV/AIDs, health care, agriculture and education. He answered a series of questions from us on a variety of topics including health care, education, reproductive rights and even a bit on identity politics. Scott has a good post on Clinton’s suggestions to push for health care reform and Chris Bowers on the climate change bill being held up currently.
Emily Douglas at RH Reality Check has a nice recap of everything he talked about including his response to her questions about reproductive rights and women.

When I asked what the Clinton Foundation does to promote women’s rights and reproductive rights as a cornerstone of global economic development, Clinton observed that the “practice that has worked uniformly across all cultures and religions” to depress the birth rate, the rate of unintended pregnancies, and of abortions, is “universal access to education and universal access to the labor market for women.”
“Part of the world’s instability is rooted in inequality,” Clinton observed.

To add to that, his consistent message was for us to push in the places we can actually affect change including on the issue of women’s rights. It would have been interesting to hear what he has to say about access to reproductive health care in the United States where pushing where we will be most successful is not always an option.
Finally, it was so interesting to hear him talk about what he feels is the role of identity in politics and what I would call theories of nation building. He asked the question, “how do we build our own identity without making others look or feel bad?” in response to Armando from Talk Left asking, how do we continue to talk about diversity in the current historical moment. He said that the shift in power from oppressed to oppressor to a more interdependent form of state control allows disenfranchised greater access to the means to overthrow regimes, but is difficult to do if the tools are consistently hijacked by what he called “evil.” I don’t have his direct quotes, but this is what I took from what he was saying.
It was a very interesting experience and I felt honored to be alongside such amazing bloggers.
UPDATE: Another post from Eve at Daily Kos on the obstacles ahead for passing the health care bill and some other observations from the meeting.

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