Bill Clinton can still get a crowd on its feet, as he demonstrated last night as he was repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations as he addressed the final session of the 2018 National Convention of the NAACP in San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
In a wide ranging speech, the former President hit hard on the signature issue of the convention, which is 'Defeat Hate, Vote!'
Mr. Clinton blasted what he said were widespread efforts by Repubilcans to make it harder for Americans to vote, from reductions in early voting to purging of voter rolls, and especially to 'voter i.d.' laws. Clinton singled out the Texas voter i.d. law for specific criticism.
"A concealed carry permit is a legitimate ID, but if you are a student at a state university, that ID doesn't count any more," Clinton said. "We all know that the different voting patterns of concealed carry holders and students had absolutely nothing to do with that change."
Mr. Clinton, though, said the problem with elections today is the fact that too few people, especially minorities, take the time to vote at all.
"The truth is, if we all voted all the time, then both parties would be debating, within a very different context, about what is the more liberal or more conservative way to do something, and we wouldn't be shouting each other down all the time, and this country wouldn't be on the verge of paralysis."
Mr. Clinton called for increasing the minimum wage, and he pointed out that in countries around the world, an 'open door instead of a fist' has led to major increases in the standard of living. He cited countries from Singapore to Vietnam to Bosnia, which were badly damaged under nationalist dictatorships, but when pluralistic, welcoming governments were elected, the living standard of all people began to rise, and residents stopped becoming illegal immigrants in other countries.
Clinton did not criticize of even mention President Trump.
The former president touched on several issues of key interest to the African American community, saying cooperation between the police and minority neighborhoods benefits both the police and the community. He also apologized for the 'zero tolerance' policies of his administration which resulted in many young Black men being incarcerated for decades for minor drug offenses. It was an issue that dogged Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign for President.
And Mr. Clinton, who has long been called 'the Frist Black President,' also joked about the name of the 109 year old NAACP.
"The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People," he said. "Now that the human genome has been sequences, we know we're all colored people, and we ought to start acting like it!"