I just returned from a fundraiser for the Guv I luv, the chief executive of the Golden State, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a great event, not only because I got to see my friend Craig, but also because I got to meet other supporters of the Governor who were as diverse as the state itself. I ran into an acquaintance who was native to Switzerland — and his stunning wife, native to Canada. I chatted with a very friendly Armenian man (who showed me a picture of his adorable daughter–as cute as my nieces!) and an aspiring actor from Slovakia.
I saw men in yarmulkes, African-American couples, an Asian man with hair past his shoulders as well as assorted Hollywood types. In short, it was an American gathering. And it seemed that the most American person there was the star of the show, Ahnuld himself. One could feel that good man enter the room. He has an energy and an optimism that just radiates from his presence. That presence reminds me a little of another great governor of the Golden State — Ronald Reagan.
When Governor Schwarzenegger spoke, it struck me how quintessentially American is this Austrian native. He was optimistic and forward-looking. He talked about his accomplishments and how he plans to build on them in the next term to improve our state. He wants to see cranes everywhere repairing our state’s crumbling infrastructure. And wants to hold taxes down to keep business booming, creating jobs.
The only time he talked about his opponent was to poke fun at him for wanting to return to the failed practices of the Governator’s predecessor. And he wondered at his ads focusing on President Bush and the Iraq war. “Talk about California,” he said. And while he belittled Angelides’ policies and campaign tactics, just like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger never attacked his opponent personally.
Governor Schwarzenegger’s energy, his optimism, his good humor, even his smile showed him to be a true American, a man grateful for the opportunities this great nation has given him and optimistic about its future — and that of its people. In that way, he was so like so many of us in that room, those of us born here and those who came here to pursue the American dream.
Though born in Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger embodies the best of the United States of America. It’s why I’m proud to have made a large contribution to his reelection campaign and encourage you to do the same.