Former President Bill Clinton came to Chicago's Auditorium Theatre on June 21 to discuss his newest accomplishment, the publication of The President is Missing, a mystery-thriller co-authored by James Patterson.
Although he may not be as successful an author as Patterson, he nonetheless remains an object of fanaticism, as the theater filled to the brim with people enthralled by his every word. The novel features an almost entirely female government, and Clinton received thunderous applause for listing some current female heads of state.
The novel's main plot revolves around a cyberterrorist attack which forces the President into hiding, and Clinton was adamant that one person could realistically dismantle the entire American infrastructure through such an attack. He called for an increase in cybersecurity defense spending, which currently represents around 4.5 percent of defense spending, or $28 million.
Clinton clearly appreciated the irony when, a moment later, he bemoaned the recent loss of his beloved Blackberry. On a related note, the president side-stepped a leading question from interviewer Bob Barnett, a longtime Clinton lawyer, on the dangers of technological reliance to younger people. Instead, Clinton reminded the audience that technological progress has always followed the same general shape, casting the challenges of modern technology in the same mold as those which created the catapult in response to castles and moats.
For the audience, the most thrilling moment of the event came when Clinton was asked about his favorite character in the novel, besides the fictional president. Clinton responded by talking of the novel's antagonist, a female assassin borne of the Balkan conflicts. He warned that her case was an example of how children subjected to inhumane conditions, though they might be people of exceptional skill, can become tools of terror.
This comment led toward President Trump's policy of separating children from families at the border. Clinton said of the policy: "It's wrong. It's immoral. It's not required by the law, and it's not necessary to protect the border. It's just wrong." Adding that "children should not be bargaining chips." The President is Missing is already a number-one New York Times best-seller, and has received generally positive reviews.