Place matteRs

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The value of a home is related to its place; proximity to a major city, good schools, recreation, and shopping ultimately determines its worth. Tourists flock to places which possess historic landmarks, treasured art, beautiful beaches, and ease of travel. People choose to live in place where there are employment opportunities, accessible transportation, housing choices, and lifestyle options.

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Obama golfing at Martha’s Vineyard

When it comes to public perception, place matters, too. Take flood-ravaged Louisiana for example. This week, where our top politicians chose to go–or not to go–made headlines. President Obama was criticized for playing golf instead of touring the state’s flooded region where 40,000 homes have been damaged and 13 people died. An editorial in the Advocate, Louisiana’s largest newspaper, suggested that Obama end his Martha’s Vineyard vacation early, saying the president should “pack his bags now” and “(show) his solidarity with suffering Americans.” The White House announced the president is going Tuesday.

Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump visited the region last Friday while Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton announced she wouldn’t go, posting on Facebook, “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions.”

Americablog.com noted, “It is common knowledge that immediately after disasters you don’t want presidents — or anyone else with serious security needs — visiting, lest they disrupt the disaster response by sucking away resources for their political photo opp.” While many praised Trump for going and have been critical of the president’s and Secretary Clinton’s decisions, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated he preferred that Obama stay away. “Quite frankly, that’s not something I want to go through right now,” he said. “I would just as soon he wait a week or two.”

On the other hand, what was a PR gain for Trump last week may have been lost when he was roundly criticized for his speech addressing the problems of the African-American community. Why? Because the speech took place in a nearly all-white community and was delivered to a nearly all-white audience. As often happens, place “trumped” the message.

In life and politics, especially when you’re courting public opinion, place matters. Your thoughts?

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