Former President Bill Clinton is debuting a new video today in which he reflects on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, warning of the threat that toxic political discourse has on democracy.

The video is part of an “Explainer-in-Chief” series that Clinton is doing with ATTN:, the Candle Media division that publishes content fusing entertainment and topical issues.

The bombing, which killed 168 people, took place 29 years ago today. “For every president there are certain days in your presidency you will never forget,” Clinton says in the video. “April 19, 1995, the day of the largest domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history is one of those days for me.”

“In the aftermath of the Oklahoma city bombing, I knew that we had a responsibility to do everything we could to ensure that something like this would never happen again,” Clinton says. “But perhaps an even greater responsibility was to urge people all across America to reassess how they talked about and thought about people who disagreed with them. Timothy McVeigh was himself motivated by that extreme rhetoric.” McVeigh was arrested, convicted and executed for perpetrating the attack.

Clinton said that he “thought it was my duty to help prevent that hatred from spreading to the average citizen.”

“I had to do two things that almost seem contradictory. I had to defend the right of people to speak freely, and assault the content and the predictable consequences of that kind of speech today. I think the challenge is the same. If you just regularly dehumanize people, so that they are no longer people, but ugly cartoons, bad things are going to happen.”

He adds, “A lot of life is about not so much what your opinion is, but how you express it, and how you relate to other people who just don’t agree with you. Democracy is a hard form of government. We are now the longest continuous democracy in human history, even though we are a very young country. And when you ruin democracy, when people don’t have enough regard for each other to listen, learn and chart a path forward, that is what you get. But it isn’t better.”

The video comes amid ongoing concern over the effects of political division and extreme rhetoric, perhaps reflected in the recent box office success of Civil War at the box office. Clinton has reflected on the Oklahoma City bombing a number of times before, including on his podcast and in a Time essay.

Matthew Segal, the co-founder and co-CEO of ATTN:, said in a statement that they hope that the video “encourages all Americans to look beyond the divisiveness – and instead listen to and treat each other with empathy and kindness.”

The videos are being released on YouTube and Instagram and other social media platforms.

ATTN: and Clinton will release additional videos this year on the politics of dehumanization and  the epidemic of loneliness. They will be tied to other moments in Clinton’s presidency, including the dedication of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 and the White House Conference on Mental Health in 1999. ATTN: and Clinton previously partnered on “Explainer In Chief” videos last year, on topics that included bipartisan solutions to gun violence and Ukrainian solidarity, among other things.

ATTN: also has produced videos featuring former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the series Well Versed, an animated civics project that launched on Nickelodeon with First Lady Jill Biden and former First Lady Laura Bush headlining a debut event in Philadelphia. Also collaborating on the project were Moonbug and iCivics.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *