Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,
Mark
mhaithaca

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Worth waking up for

"I listened very closely when Esther Tang was speaking, and I think you've already heard the best speech of the day."

I'm really impressed with the clean, crisp online stream of this morning's convocation speech at Cornell. President Bill Clinton is probably the first convocation speaker at Cornell ever to fill Schoellkopf Field. (Cornell has a tradition of never having an outside speaker at its commencement ceremonies; the senior class invites a guest speaker who speaks the day before graduation.)

He's always been an exceptional speaker, and is in great form today, and I'm glad I woke up to watch online. (If I had cable, I could watch on channel 16.) It was really tempting to go see him speak in person (it's a rare opportunity to see a U.S. President in Ithaca), but I decided I didn't want to deal with the zoo.

Before Clinton, there were three class officers speaking. My first thought was, "These 30,000 people didn't come to see you. Don't talk too long." But they actually each spoke eloquently. Guess that's how they got elected. I got a few screen shots of them talking in front of Bill Clinton and will pass along the images in case their parents didn't get a good shot from the audience.

Clinton himself spoke for quite a while before he started to head into political territory. He even took a moment to say that the position he was speaking against has lots of adherents and respectable intellectual support. No wonder so many people like this guy. Even when he's telling you you're wrong, he makes an effort to tell you he still respects your position and how you arrived at it.

"...build a world with more friends and fewer terrorists."
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