I won’t try to add to John Pierce’s accurate analysis of former president Bill Clinton’s speech on Friday night of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. I was delighted that Clinton remained faithfully non-political, though also a bit surprised that he focused most of his remarks on relating to the Baptists who, by choice, have distanced themselves from the larger Baptist family.
I will, however, offer a couple of illustrations. When Clinton arrived on stage, he immediately started looking through the remarks that he later said an aide had prepared, based on what he thought the president might want to say.
He flipped through them with an apparent lack of pleasure, then started writing notes in the margins. By the time he got up to speak, he announced that he was ditching the manuscript entirely. That, evidently, was what he did. He never looked down, but maintained eye contact the full time as he spoke in subdued tones, apparently from the heart.
That was a bit surprising, given the criticism he has received lately from some other off-the-cuff remarks about Hillary Clinton’s political rival that turned out to be ill-considered. In this case, however, he managed to pull it off without being critical of anyone, encouraging mutual appreciation and understanding of those with whom we disagree.
It was not what anyone suspected, I imagine — but well worth hearing on an opportune day.