Leaving Arizona, North By Northwest
Next Tuesday is departure day, or at least the day the moving company shows up at the front door. My wife and I will stay in a hotel that night and begin our two car caravan out of Scottsdale the next morning. We’ll meet up with the movers again in the north Willamette Valley wine country in the shade of Chehalem Mountain, 20 miles southwest of what one of our former commenters liked to refer to as The People’s Republic of Portland.
For those who don’t know how to pronounce Willamette, I will share with you the quick and easy trick taught to me by the minister of the First Covenant Church on the corner of Burnside and NE 45th in Portland. Remember the rhyme, he said, “It’s Willamette, dammit.” It’s been 35 years since he shared his wise pronunciation guide and much water has moved up the north-flowing Willamette River in the interim, including five years most recently in Arizona.
Though the Pacific Northwest is familiar, much will seem different and require time to re-adjust. Daily sunshine and year-round good golfing days will give way to predominantly gray skies and lush vegetation. The people and the politics will change as well.
Here in Scottsdale, the road to election is premised on convincing the voters that you are more conservative than the other conservatives seeking the same seat. It’s a bit like the playground argument between two seven years olds. “I’m the most conservative.” “Are not.” “Am too.” … The Northwest isn’t quite the “People’s Republic of Portland” that our former commenter called it, but the political attitude is certainly more balanced, consistently more moderate and occasionally progressive.
It is a move politically from a solid red state to a light blue state. Obama/Biden will likely carry Oregon; Romney/Ryan will almost certainly carry Arizona. In 2008, Oregon greeted Obama like a rock star. Arizona State University refused to confer an honorary degree upon him. These travels, south to northwest, are emblematic of our nation divided, right against left, both extremes against the center. It is the politics of winning, no longer the public service of governing, that drives us and divides us. To live among the factions, first one then the other, instructs but does not heal or satisfy.
Good bye, Arizona.