Arnold Schwarzenegger says he'll pay to reopen polling centers across America so everyone can vote

There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.



In the early 2000s, Schwarzenegger's life and career took a major u-turn when he decided to run for governor of California …. and won. Sure, Schwarzenegger had a mixed bag as governor, no matter what your political leanings are. And after his second term, he quietly returned to lesser roles in movies and navigated personal setbacks like the dissolution of his marriage. Everyone kind of expected Schwarzenegger to drift into the sunset as a curious footnote of the modern era.

But it's how Schwarzenegger has returned as a public advocate for the greater good that has truly cemented his legacy as an important global citizen: taking on climate change, promoting plant based diets and squaring off against bullies ranging from your average Twitter troll all the way up (or down) to President Trump himself.

In a Twitter thread that quickly went viral on Wednesday, Schwarzenegger said he was willing to invest his personal fortune in helping to re-open polling centers around America that have been closed because of budget cuts and safety concerns tied to Covid-19.


He went on to challenge those who say it's not voter suppression but simply a question of how we pay for it:

"I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm a fanatic about voting. Most people call closing polls voter suppression. Some say it is "budgetary." What if I made it easy & solved the budgetary issue? How much would it cost to reopen polling places?"

"This is a serious question. Is closing polling stations about making it harder for minorities to vote, or is it because of budgets? If you say it's because of your budget, let's talk."



And it's not just talk. Schwarzenegger made it clear, playing off one of his favorite lines, that he's already taken "action" to put real meaning behind his tweets:

"Today I sent a letter to nearly 6,000 elections officials and county commissioners in states formerly covered by Voting Rights Act Section 5 inviting them to apply for grants, funded by me, to reopen polling centers and improve voting access."

But it was the next tweet that really showed the personal meaning this has to someone like Schwarzenegger, an immigrant who has truly lived and thrived inside the American dream, the manifestation of everything our country promises to be:

"This country gave me everything, and I truly believe this could be one of the best investments I have ever made. All of us can do our part to give back and fight for equality."



And he promised to give the grants to any state that can demonstrate a need:

"The grants are completely non-partisan and will be offered to those who demonstrate the greatest need and ability to close gaps in voting access. The process will be run through @GovArnoldUSC."


It's still unclear if any states will take up Schwarzenegger's offer or if it's even technically legal in all 50 states. Regardless, this is the kind of action taken by someone who truly loves their country. Let people vote and let the votes be counted.

That's what democracy is all about, empowering citizens to decide what kind of representation they want in their government. America can be a conservative place, a liberal place, or somewhere in between. Most of all, America is supposed to be a free place, where liberty is the guiding principle. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets that and we all owe him a thanks for putting his privilege and power behind those principles.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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