The responsibility U.S. citizens have to vote is what Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, said she is most concerned about in this ill-mannered 2016 presidential election.
“I have been involved in politics for a very long time,” Albright said to ISU students and Ames community members Thursday. “I have always loved political campaigns — this is not my favorite one.”
With 17 days until Election Day, Albright has been feverishly stumping across the nation for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Albright has made numerous stops this week all over Iowa, including at an Islamic center in Waterloo that had been vandalized.
Albright was on Iowa State’s campus Thursday, discussing the campaign and national security to a full auditorium in the College of Design building. The lecture was part of the Campaign 2016 Series.
“I think the lack of civility in [the campaign] is very troubling, the lack of respect the candidates have for each other and just generally the kind of mood out there,” Albright said.
From 1997 to 2001, Albright served as the first female U.S. secretary of state. She has also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as well as being a member on the National Security Council on Capitol Hill.
Albright shared with the audience her history of being an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and in her opinion, what being an American citizen is all about — voting.
“As a naturalized American, when people ask me what is the most important thing that ever happened in my life it was becoming an American and that privilege of voting,” Albright said.
The former secretary of state expressed concern of people not going out to the voting booths due to this year’s presidential campaign being what she called unpleasant. Albright said protest votes won’t get people anything, especially for those who are in a swing state such as Iowa.
“Being a citizen is voting,” Albright said.
In an interview with the Daily, Albright said if unmotivated students don’t get out and vote, they will only have themselves to blame.
“A vote is the most powerful thing that we all have,” Albright said. “This vote will determine what this country is like for the foreseeable future of all the young students.”
During her speech, Albright shared a story of her being on a plane and meeting a salesman who she had spoken with and taken a picture with. Later on in the flight Albright said she learned he had voted early for Trump and that she felt she couldn’t talk to him anymore. But she quickly changed her mind, realizing that she had to talk to him, she said.
“Voting on Nov. 8 is important,” Albright said. “Talking on Nov. 9 and bringing our country back together is what also is very important.”
As for national security, Albright discussed the importance of the U.S. relationship with China, saying she believes it is, “the most important relationship of the 21st century for the U.S.” The secretary added that China and the United States both need each other economically and to stop North Korea.
“From my perspective, Hillary Clinton is the best candidate,” Albright said. “Secretary Clinton was the person that was truly behind the rebalancing of Asia to show that we are both an Atlantic and Pacific power.”
When it comes to the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Albright told the Daily she believes Trump poses an unusually dangerous threat to the United States’ national security.
“[Trump] has the wrong temperament for [the presidency],” Albright said. “You can't show anger, and that’s what worries me.”
Albright said one of the first things a person learns when going into office is the first information one receives is usually wrong, saying, you have to assess what the situation is.
“I don’t think he understands the issues; he is not respected abroad," Albright said. "Hillary is.”