March 02, 2017 4:15PM
When Lee Scott established the speaker series that bears his name, he said he wanted to deepen the level of discourse and enrich the university experience by examining American life from the perspective of nationally prominent leaders and innovators.
The series appears to be doing just that.
Bill Clinton opened the series in 2015 with a focus on diversity and inclusiveness. On Feb. 28, Mitt Romney, the second speaker in the series, talked about American greatness and the need to return to a more civil national discourse.
“One thing that is essential to the greatness of the nation, and that is, in my view, an essential part of America,” Romney said, “is that we are great because we are good."
Romney talked about his work organizing the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics and also his service as the governor of Massachusetts, which had an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature.
He said the things he was able to achieve as governor came because he was able to work with Democrats on things they could agree upon. He bemoaned the sharp divisions in the country today.
“This last campaign was as bitter and personal and vindictive and vulgar as I could have ever imagined," Romney said. “It was beyond anything I experienced during my campaigns.”
Asked if he expected a change anytime soon, Romney said he did not, although he predicted that eventually the pendulum would swing toward a more moderate tone.
The structure of the event differed in that much of it was a conversation between Romney and Lee Scott. Seated in comfortable chairs, Scott read questions submitted by the audience for Romney and the two visited about the issues those questions raised.
As the event closed, Romney took the microphone one last time to emphasize a theme he touched on earlier, but clearly wanted to impress on the students and others in attendance.
“This is a great and good nation,” he said. “The future of this nation depends on its goodness more than any other single thing.”