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Thread: George W Bush and Texas: You are where you live / grew up

  1. #1
    Cyburbian circusoflife's avatar
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    George W Bush and Texas: You are where you live / grew up

    Has there ever been any discussion on Cyburbia (Or anywhere for that fact) on how political views are related to where you grew up? as it relates to city planning of course...

    As we all know...my (US) current head of state is not viewed highly by environmental forces. He is also continuing on the path that OIL and SPRAWL is the way - (Cutting Amtrak - which gets a paltry <1.5 billion subsidy vs hundreds of billions for automakers/oil industry, more roads, Iraq invasion, etc...) Why don't the automakers pay for road construction? Price that into a vehicle cost...

    anyway...

    I visited Texas for the first time in 2003...and frankly after spending 10 days driving all over the state (San Antonia, Houston - even the famed '"Woodlands", Corpus Christi, Austin - major cities visited,also Spindletop - where oil was discovered) I understood GW. Most of Texas is not inspiring from a "nature" standpoint. Especially when compared to the Seattle area where I currently reside. Thus I can see why views of nature might not be so ingrained. 2nd and more relevant to Cyburbia: the car and highway dominance is staggering.

    I know GW was not well traveled when he was elected. (I have been to more countries than when he was elected to the top job - and I am quite young - which is quite scary) I have a saying that YOU ARE WHERE YOU LIVE/GREW UP (Kind of like YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT). His current travels don't count because his views and circle of friends has already been established. Plus, how much do you see when you are being coddled as a dignitary while busy hobnobbing.

    If all you know is sprawl and cars and highways growing up, how can one even begin to appreciate (let alone understand) how differently life could be lived (With all its attendant benefits and negatives) say in Netherlands and Denmark where bicycling and rail is strong. Or in Japan where even despite high levels of car ownership (Much smaller cars to boot), rail is dominant. Or any number of other places in the world...where sprawl has not degraded the quality of life.

    I hope this message makes sense. Thanks.

    --

    just a side question...(More of a reminder for myself to post in another thread)

    - I have a question, what percentage of Texans have ever ridden on a train?
    A bus?

    The same could be said about numerous other states...Southern Cal - Orange County where I lived for 6 years would count too.

    - I guess in another thread I want to know how well traveled/not traveled the people on Cyburbia are too...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    You make a good point. People are biased to the circumstances in which they grew up. Although not everyone likes where they grew up, it makes an impression on them regardless.

    I hitchhiked through El Paso, and San Antonio and stopped a few days in Houston in 1997. It's roadrunner country in the western half. Oil means everything there. I didn't want to go to Dallas, so my ride let me off in the middle of nowhere on I-10 at the point where you can either go to Dallas, or San Antonio. Waiting for several hours in the hot sun, low on water was not fun.

    Although I grew up in suburbia, I much prefer the city because I don't like the feeling of having to depend on a car to get around.

    Looking at the country politically and demographically, it makes sense that the red states are more supportive of a high-oil consumption lifestyle than the blue states are. The blue state west coast and northeast are mostly areas of dense and diverse population where the need for transit is inescapable. The red states are in the much more sparsely populated area between the coasts, with the exception of the southeast. There, there isn't enough density to justify major transit, and the distances between everything are vast.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq
    Looking at the country politically and demographically, it makes sense that the red states are more supportive of a high-oil consumption lifestyle than the blue states are. The blue state west coast and northeast are mostly areas of dense and diverse population where the need for transit is inescapable. The red states are in the much more sparsely populated area between the coasts, with the exception of the southeast. There, there isn't enough density to justify major transit, and the distances between everything are vast.
    I think you may have pinned it down even more. It may be that the density of your environment affects your political views.

    This is a huge oversimplification that may open me up for criticism, but:

    - Denser areas probably require more regulation and cooperation to manage many competing interests.

    - Less dense areas probably rely more on other, less formal and extralegal means (family, church, "values", cultural homogeneity) to manage a narrower range of competing interests.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    I donno maybe I am the freak but I grew up on military bases thus one would think I would be republican and pro gun but Im rather left and support gun control.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian circusoflife's avatar
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    Color me purple

    some more data to spice up the pot...

    Map of 2004 election - color me purple

    http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2004/

    Map room - electoral maps
    http://www.mcwetboy.net/maproom/cat_...ral_maps.phtml


    And the original source of my knowledge behind the original post.
    (I should amend the phrase - you are where you live - to also add places you have
    experienced)

    -- excerpted from my blog posted April 28, 2004
    http://www.circusoflife.com/Weblog/2...l_archive.html

    Leadership Credentials

    For those who have read my journals, they know that I like to find out who is going where. Of course, I have noted before how Americans don't travel abroad as much as similar income (Or even lower) Japanese and West Europeans. Which got me thinking about where President George W. Bush had been to prior to his taking office. I had once commented to a 20-year old Dutch kid I met in Nepal that he probably had more international experience than President Bush before he got elected - a scary thought. He had left home via train, crossed Russia via the Tran-Siberian into Mongolia, then through parts of China into Thailand and surrounding area, then over to Nepal. He was tired and ready to go home after about 6 months (Magic 6!). His original plan was to go to New Zealand. This before he turned 21! Bold!

    So being the researcher I am - I found these links:

    President-elect touted by staff as a seasoned world traveler - Dec 2000 (CNN.com - Allpolitics)
    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLI...orld.traveler/

    Summary List from article (In order of mention):

    Guatemala - business
    France - vacation
    Bermuda - vacation
    Italy - vacation
    Israel - Governor Association meeting
    Egypt - Governor Assoication meeting
    Gambia - with Dad
    England
    Scotland
    China - with Dad
    Japan - stop on way home - 1 hour? 1 day?
    Mexico - many times
    Canada - many times

    Total - 13 countries

    Interesting link below - I'll make one comment though, is that the world before is not the world today with the continual increase in global trade. (I just read that in 1980 - 48% of shoes sold in the USA were still made in the USA. Today - 1.5%)

    Bush lacks Gore's foreign policy expertise - June 1999
    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stori...oreign.policy/

    Bush in China Milwaukee Journal - Sentinel
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/nat/ap/...hina022102.asp

    While sometimes ignorance is good, it usually isn't in my book. I personally feel that when one becomes President of the USA, this is not the time to gain international experience. Be they Democrat or Republican or any other damn party. Initial opinions and impressions of countries should be formed before entering politics. Being President, one gets the white glove treatment. A rather skewed experience of a country no doubt. Also, a Presidential visit usually isn't very long - and it's probably filled with a number of meetings. In an Iowa caucus debate that I caught on TV a while ago, one of the Democratic presidential nominee hopefuls mentioned he had been to 55 countries. Who he is, doesn't matter. But, that always stood out in my mind - it reflected in the individual's viewpoints and 1 political speech I heard when this individual visited Seattle. Yes, I somehow found the time to attend a rally last year in between my return from touring the US and traveling for 7 months!


    --

    Of the places above - the only places that might give an impression of non-car focused transit are England, France, and Italy, China (Prior to 90s), and Japan. Again, it matters on how long the actual visit was, and how one actually traveled around. And how one sees the world around them....certainly the longer one is in a place though -
    the odds of appreciating different transit methods would be realized.
    Last edited by circusoflife; 09 May 2005 at 11:49 AM.

  6. #6
    Since Bush is from the East Coast and not Texas is environmental views are certinally out of touch. Bush went to Yale... and spent most of his time in Washington DC growing up because his family is one of those dreaded "Washington insiders" and "inside the beltway people" that he loves to put down. His family has a long history with the east coast. Maine, DC, Connecticut. Even Laura Bush stated the GW did not know anything about raching or Texas before he got there.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian nuovorecord's avatar
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    Bush is typical in the sense that the majority of Americans have never traveled, for whatever reason, and their view of life is shaped by what they know and have personally experienced. So, for most people, the fact that Bush has little personal experience with the rest of the world, compared to Gore or Kerry is a non-issue...neither do they.

    It's frustrating to me that we Americans live in such a great country, with ideals and principles that are the envy of the world, yet are so myopic in many ways. There is so much to learn from others, on a personal level as well as political, that could make the US an even better place to live.
    "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." - Bill Clinton.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    I donno maybe I am the freak but I grew up on military bases thus one would think I would be republican and pro gun but Im rather left and support gun control.
    That's why I said, not everyone likes where they grew up, myself included. I presume your upbringing left you with an unfavorable impression of the military, but an impression nonetheless.

    But then, Planificador reminds us that W. really has an east coast heritage. Nevertheless, he did grow up in Midland, which allowed him to acquire an authentic Texan drawl, unlike those Washinton insiders like um, his dad.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    I am a native Texan and will agree with what everyone has said. I stay in Austin because I enjoy the beauty of it. It's also a very "clean and green" city with lots of parks and great recreation. We also have a great bus system and tons of cyclists (Lance Armstrong) and pedestrians. A massive light-rail and rapid transit train project was approved during the last election, so our options for public transit are about to increase dramatically. Austin is also very liberal and left-wing, which gives it a very laid back atmosphere where people can be themselves, no matter how weird they are. "Keep Austin Weird" is an embraced idea around here.

    I can't say the same for the rest of the state. I hate every other major city in Texas that I've been to. They're absolutely horrible. I can assure you that the day I move out of Austin is the day I leave Texas for good. I think that somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland) would suit me quite well.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian circusoflife's avatar
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    Bio of GW Bush - from the source

    Let's get it straight...

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html - excerpted :

    President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush assembled the group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. On November 8, 1994, President Bush was elected Governor of Texas. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive 4-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998.

    If anyone can find a detailed timeline on the net - please post

    More detailed bio:
    http://www.usa-presidents.info/gwbush.htm
    http://www.bushchildhoodhome.org/bush_history.html

    years old - data

    0 - July 1946 - Born in Conneticut
    2 - July 1948 - Moved to Midland, Texas
    9 - 1955 - Move to Houston from Midland (Father not until 1959 I think)
    ''Attended elementary, junior, and part of high school in Houston''

    15 to 18 - Sept 1961 - June 1964 - High school in Andover, Massachusetts
    18 to 22 - Sept 1964 - May 1968 - Bachelor degree Yale -

    22 to 27 In Air Force - Texas presumably - mostly...Texas National Guard

    29 - 1975 (1973-1975?) - Receive MBA Harvard

    29-31 - ???

    31 -1977 - Back to Midland, Texas

    36 - 1982 - Father is Vice President (But he still lives in Texas presumably)
    1988 - Father President (But GW still lives in Texas presumably)
    1994 - governor of Texas
    Presumably rest of life in Texas (As Governor, et al..) until recent.

    ...so early impressions formed in West Texas - which is decidedly desolate and flat(Except for the park on the Western edge). I know from driving across it.

    Possible change in attitude/appreciation from 15 on...but not dramatic. As far as I know Andover, MA is not a train/pedestrian (non-car focused) town is it? Besides...he was going to a Philips Academy - living mostly on campus I assume.

    New Haven,CT (Home of Yale) most definitely is not. - I was there in summer 2003 on my x-country USA drive so I can vouch first hand for that. Is it more quaint than many suburbs, yes, but still car dominant.

    --
    Only when he gets to Harvard/Boston area at 27 years old is any impression of transit possible.

    As for visits in WA DC - when does the Pres/VP or family ever take the underground rail? ummm...probably never. That is why the EARLY impression non-big wig view is important.

    This thread is more about where one would one gain an appreciation for a non-car oriented lifestyle. The nature/environment being secondary I guess - and not so important to Cyburbia

    that is why I mention the countries visited. too...

    of course there are places of transit in the US - San Fran, et al...but this is not the same as say visiting...the Netherlands or Denmark, Japan - among other places.

    Or Italy -- old news clip of story I remember: 1999

    LABOR MINISTRY OFFICIAL SHOT DEAD IN BOLOGNA
    Professor Marco Biagi, consultant and assistant to Italian Labor Minister Roberto Maroni, was assassinated at 8:30 p.m. last night in Bologna. At least three shots from a nine millimeter pistol struck Mr. Biagi. According initial reports, the two suspects, one on foot and the other aboard a scooter, approached the professor as he was riding his bicycle home in downtown Bologna. Mr. Biagi had just returned home by train from Modena where he had taught at the university. He leaves behind his wife and two children, who were all at home at the time of the murder. A wave of search warrants was issued in several Italian cities. Officials believe the assassination was politically motivated and masterminded by an internal, leftist terrorist group. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the incident.

    http://www.sicilianculture.com/news/2002-redbrigade.htm
    ---

    The point being - a high labor official RODE A BICYCLE TO WORK!!!
    Last edited by circusoflife; 09 May 2005 at 9:59 PM.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Of course where you live/grew up affects your perception. I grew up entirely in suburbia, half in one town, half the other. One was older, poorer, a little more diverse, and more walkable/bikable. The other...exurban car-dependent, homogenous, wealthier. I do have a slight leaning towards suburbia and its offerings because I never grew up in a city. You start to believe that the areas you grew up in are the ways a place is supposed to be because you have known no other way. I am more open-minded though and because of my research, I have come to believe that the ways in which my hometowns were could have been planned a lot better.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  12. #12
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Driving westbound on I-10 as you cross the Texas state line into New Mexico, the changes in the built environment are immediate. There are fewer billboards and high-rise signs. The frontage roads disappear into dirt paths. The omnipresent concrete encountered in medians, past shoulders and in channelized arroyos gives way to sandy desert soil.

    A half hour later, after passing dairies, pecan orchards, and hardscrabble little farm towns like Vado and Anthony, you reach the southern limit of Las Cruces's sprawl. The houses look different; stucco-covered frame, adobe and rammed earth in Cruces. There's some stucco in El Paso, but also a lot of brick houses that wouldn't look out-of-place in Dallas or Houston. There's sprawl in Cruces, but it's kinder and gentler; lower signs, more Southwest theming (despite the lack of architectural regulations in much of the city), xeriscaping on the mesas and lush, green vegetation in the valley - not the concrete, displaced palm trees and massive high-rise signs typical of El Paso.

    The mountains that are missing from the West Texas desert landscape appear shortly after crossing into New Mexico. Head north on I-25, and the mountainscape will continue through to the Colorado-Wyoming state line.

    I always found the changes that take place at state lines to be fascinating. What is it that makes the built environment so different in one state than the other? Are those remote regions, like El Paso, more influenced by the culture of distant cities like Houston and Dallas than much closer cities that just happen to be in a different state? Why are billboards everywhere in Missouri, but they disappear from the landscape when you cross into Illinois or Iowa? Why do roads turn into cratered cartpaths as soon as they cross the Michigan or Pennsylvania state line? Whata re the attitudes behind those differences?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    An infinite number of factors create an individual's political philosophy. Where Mr. Bush grew up may have slightly contributed to his right-wing views, however, based on his history I do not believe this to be the case. He was a member of the power elite since day one and did not have the upbringing of a typical Houston resident. In addition his formative years were spent in Massachusetts. Not on the then working class streets of Roxbury or Southie, but at Andover Academy. Even if he grew up in Choo-Chootown USA, he would not have taken a train with us people. Planners, I think his views were formed long before he was born.

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jread
    I am a native Texan and will agree with what everyone has said. I stay in Austin because I enjoy the beauty of it. It's also a very "clean and green" city with lots of parks and great recreation. We also have a great bus system and tons of cyclists (Lance Armstrong) and pedestrians. A massive light-rail and rapid transit train project was approved during the last election, so our options for public transit are about to increase dramatically. Austin is also very liberal and left-wing, which gives it a very laid back atmosphere where people can be themselves, no matter how weird they are. "Keep Austin Weird" is an embraced idea around here.

    I can't say the same for the rest of the state. I hate every other major city in Texas that I've been to. They're absolutely horrible. I can assure you that the day I move out of Austin is the day I leave Texas for good. I think that somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland) would suit me quite well.
    Well, you know how Austin got here right? There was a massive earthquake a long time ago in Oregon that popped a chunk off the coast, which ricocheted off the moon and landed smack in the middle of central Texas!

    I all seriousness, I don't buy "growing up in Texas" as the reason for Bush's political leanings. He was shipped off to a silver spoon school in Connecticut following his freshman year in high school. We form many of our political opinions in our late teens and early 20s, so if anything, living up in Yankee land should have had more influence on him. I would call it a spurious correlation that where you grew up influences your support for "smart growth" and environmental policies.

    I'll throw this out as another example. I grew up in Victoria, TX, referred to by many as a miniature version of Houston. This city is an absolute hellhole. Lot's of great history and a decent park on the river, but not much to brag about. Environmental issues weren't a major concern because, to be honest, there wasn't much worth saving in the city. No endangered species issues; no forests; nothing. I eventually moved to central Texas in high school, which actually has some stuff worth saving. This would be a similar move to Bush moving to Connecticut in terms of "worthwhile environments". Also remember, Bush vacationed in Maine frequently, which is another lovely area.

    So where am I now? Even though I grew up in a ****hole town with little respect for the environment, I've been called a tree-hugger granola eater more than once or twice in recent years. I will proudly align myself with support for improved environmental protection. Obviously, the place I grew up had little to do with this. I would say that support for particular policies finds its initial roots in the values held by our parents and is further influenced by the people we meet and our experiences throughout life. I would say that Bush has reduced respect for the environment due to close ties with an industry that pretty much acknowledges the damage it does to the environment. Midland and Houston happen to have a lot of people connected with that industry. So, your initial analysis would make it appear that support for environmental policy comes from geographic location. However, that would not be entirely accurate and possibly spurious because there are too many other influences, particularly social relationships.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Bush and his family are still Washington "insiders" the very people they claim to dislike. And since they are Grooming Jeb Bush to take over the Bush empire in the next election are people going to say that Jeb is a REAL Floridian?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Bush and his family are still Washington "insiders" the very people they claim to dislike. And since they are Grooming Jeb Bush to take over the Bush empire in the next election are people going to say that Jeb is a REAL Floridian?
    Jeb in 2008?? LMAO. Us Republicans aren't that stupid enough to do back to back Bush. It will never happen. Maybe in 2016. 2008 will be the battle of New York. Rudy Giuliani vs. Hillary Clinton.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  17. #17
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    I always think it is hilarious when people think they've seen West Texas just because they drove down I-10














    (btw, another liberal, hippy, tree-hugging Texan chiming in)

  18. #18
    Great thread, y'all!

    I don't buy the Fruedian geo-determinism, for myself or my (not) President.

    I grew up in rural Texas, and the first time I rode a train was in Switzerland in 1997. BTW, Dallas and Ft. Worth have a great commuter line that I envy. Texas is learning, but very slowly. For better or for worse, we have a lot of open spaces left in private hands, and our growth in the next 20 years will be very interesting. I'm a life-long park advocate, but urban design principles were not genetically-inherited. Smart growth is learned. (nurture, not nature)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Us Republicans aren't that stupid enough.....

    lol

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    As another native, more liberal, Austin-loving Texan I refuse to claim Bush is Texan. REFUSE. He's what gives a lot of us Texans a bad name, imho. I agree that his growing up in Texas doesn't have that much to do with his political stance or his beliefs about the environment.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Man, you guys from Texas hate Bush as much as some people from New York hate Hilary Clinton (piece o' shat).


    But then again, what does a WNY carpetbagging muncher in the panhandle know?

    Politics is politics no matter where you live................
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  22. #22
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Man, you guys from Texas hate Bush as much as some people from New York hate Hilary Clinton (piece o' shat).
    That's because all of us witnessed the damage he caused when he was governor...

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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