On Friday, October 5, our own Shira Lazar hosted a live Google+ Hangout with action superstar, influential political figure, and all-around pop culture icon Arnold Schwarzenegger.
To promote his new tell-all autobiography, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, the former California governor invited viewers and fans to join the chat and directly ask him questions about his extensive career.
In the discussion, Schwarzenegger tells us that his book is essentially an immigrant story that traces his life from the time he was born in Austria after World War II up until now, as he continues to achieve his goals through hard work and relentless determination.
“Everyone has certain talents. That was always mine: that I could see things, believe it, achieve it,” Schwarzenegger says of pursuing his ambitions.
That’s not to say that it’s all been a smooth ride, however, as any successful figure has experienced losses and failures. “It’s not just about the great victories and accomplishments,” he says of Total Recall, “but it’s also about the mistakes that I’ve made in life.”
While Schwarzenegger is quick to praise America for being, “without any doubt, the country of opportunity,” he also laments that progress has been slow in government. “I think that politicians are frozen right now in Washington and have been performing pitifully — Democrats and Republicans,” he says. “But [America] is still the greatest country in the world.”
In finding his own political stride on U.S. soil, Schwarzenegger reveals that he received a great deal of inspiration from George Bush Sr., Secretary George Shultz, Governor Pete Wilson, and his former father-in-law, Sergeant Shriver.
He also notes that his wife at the time, Maria Shriver, was particularly helpful because she was able to provide the point of view of a female and Democrat in policy discussions.
“I felt always that the Republican Party has lost a lot of the female members because they have kind of turned their back on female issues, such as the environment, educational issues, healthcare issues,” Schwarzenegger says. “And to me those were actually very important issues.”
So, what is it exactly that makes him identify with the Republican Party?
Speaking of when he first came to America, Schwarzenegger says, “Whenever Humphrey talked, I felt like I was back in Austria, and whenever Nixon talked, to me, it was like music to my ears.” As he later got a better grasp on the English language and understanding of government, he realized that no party really has the lock on anything.
For that reason, Schwarzenegger is an advocate of combining the brain power of all of the parties, calling for politicians to be more tolerant and possess a greater ability to listen.
“Right now, the Republican Party has a tendency of shouting sometimes…and just staying too far to the right, but I think that doesn’t mean you have to leave the Republican Party,” he says. “It just means that you have to work very hard at it to reshape the party, and to again make it an open party and the party that Ronald Reagan was the President of.”
While Schwarzenegger has many landmark achievements of which he should be proud, the action hero admits that it wasn’t easy for him to analyze his own past, as he’s always looking forward and setting new goals. For him, “the fun is really in climbing the hill.”
That’s why, even when he’s reached the conclusion of one momentous journey, he’s always ready to say, “I’ll be back.”