Good-bye Cincinnati

When my husband and I moved to Arizona almost 11 years ago, it was supposed to be a temporary thing. An adventure.
Our ticket to the life we had always dreamed about.
My husband, a former journalist, had been working from home as a programmer for a media software company based in Scottsdale. His bosses wanted him to move into management to help the company go public. That required a physical move as well.
Two years, they said.
That was all.
The company would pay for our relocation to Arizona and then move us back east when our time was up. We would earn enough from stock options to build a house on his parents’ farm in Pennsylvania, something we’d talked about since we started dating.
I had to give up my newspaper job, but I was sure I would find work in Phoenix.
And, when all this was over, he and I would both be able to work from home while we raised a family.
We weren’t counting on me getting pregnant before we even got there.
We weren’t counting on the company going under.
We weren’t counting on living in Arizona for five years, or in Cincinnati for six years.
But we went where life took us, always believing that things would work out in the end.
And they have.
In seven weeks, we will move to Pennsylvania with our four young children. We bought a house to live in while we build our final home. The house is in a burough of about 700 people, where the nearest mall is 50 miles away and the convenience store has hitching posts for the Amish.
And we can’t wait.
For the first time, we will be near family and that’s far more important than the convenience of 24-hour grocery stores, multiple fast-food restaurants and a selection of wi-fi coffee houses (Okay, so maybe I will miss Starbucks and Panera).
We will be able to help care for his mother as she ages and we will be free to travel to my parents’ house when we have vacation time. My husband’s sister and niece live within walking distance, and two of my sisters and my stepdaughter are only a short drive away.
My husband will keep his job.
His company has been gracious enough to let him work from home.
We will miss all the people we have come to know in Cincinnati, just as we miss those who we left behind in Arizona. Our older children have roots here. This is where they attended preschool, kindergarten and most of elementary school.
But both kids value family tremendously.
They are as excited as we are.
The twins will have few memories of their birthplace, but we will bring them back. We will remind them that  Cincinnati has been good to us. We have plenty of good friends here and lots wonderful memories. Best of all, Cincinnati gave us two healthy young boys.
Arizona was equally good. We left there with a healthy son and daughter; a greater understanding for Mexican/western culture; and an appreciation for a different kind of nature than we were accustomed to. We plan to spend many weeks each year of our retirement there.
And so it is that, with a sense of contentment and fulfillment, that we say this:
Good-bye, Cincinnati.
Good-bye and thank you.

Arizona immigration law: a lame attempt to preserve a lifestyle

Seth Meyers said it perfectly on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last night:
“The last time I heard ‘show me your papers’ was in a WWII movie…and it was Adolph and his fascists. ” Hilter’s family, Meyers suggested, ought to get some kind of residual payment from the new Arizona immigration law.
The law itself is criminal and it will never survive constitutional scrutinty.
It can’t possibly hold up.
Those who passed it had to know that.
So, it makes me wonder.
Just who supports this new law.
And why.
My husband and I lived in Arizona for nearly five years.
I gave birth to our first two children there.
Our time in the Wild West allowed me to make a few observations. Among them was the difference between those who honestly wanted to resolve the issue of illegal immigration, and those who wanted to keep the cheap labor flowing, but still look good politically.
The proposals from the first group involved such things as day visas and huge fences and tighter borders and more aid to Mexico and naturalization of those who had already illegally crossed into the United States. But these solutions pose a huge problem to second group.
You see, this second group relies on illegal immigrants for perfectly manicured lawns, clean houses, well-reared children, cotton harvesting, mining, truck loading, painting and all kind of tasks they decline to do themselves.
These people don’t have to decide whether to hire a housekeeper or a lawn maintenance crew or a nanny. They can have it all because illegal immigrants will work for next to nothing, work as many hours as they can and never, ever talk back.
Most won’t dare even ask for a glass of water.
But the folks in that second group can’t come right out and argue that.
They can’t say, “Keep the illegals coming and keep them oppressed. And don’t give the legal Mexicans immigrants or the citizen Hispanics any power because they might want to protect their kind and wreck the whole thing for all of us.”
They have to pretend to do something.
To protect their lifestyles and their reputations.
And this is it.
Under this new law, anyone who cannot prove citizenship will be arrested.
Do you think the cops will stop us white folks?
Of course not.
African Americans?
Maybe, but probably not.
The black population in Arizona is slim and poses no political threat.
And illegals tend to go where they have realtives or friends. They are no large populations of illegal Kenyans or Germans or Russians or Chinese in Arizona. What would bring them there? Why would a good cop stop a white guy or a black woman on suspicion of illegal status?
No, this law is clearly and openly geared toward Mexicans.
With this new law, the people of the second group can stand on their balconies and watch as the legal, illegal and citizen Hispanics who had the misfortune of taking their kids for a walk, running to the store or grabbing a bite to eat without their passports or naturalization papers or visas on hand are arrested and say, “Look. Look what we’re doing. We’re fighting illegal immigration.”
And this is what they’ve done.
This is the reality:
They’ve made Arizona a threatening place to live for Hispanics who are legally living in the United States, reducing the chances that they will settle or remain settled in the state and, eventually, take political control.
They’ve given the appearance that they are tackling the problem of the immigration overflow when they know, full well, that nothing has changed on the border. Mexicans will continue to cross the border illegally at the same rate because it’s still worth the risk.
Mexico is still dirt poor.
Mexican health care is still lousy.
Border security is no better.
The desire for a better life, for money to send back home, remains.
And so, most important, they’ve ensured that …
their desert lawns will remain plush and green;
their tiled houses will remain dust-free;
their children will remain out of sight while they sip gin and tonics or glasses or merlot or marguaritas poolside under  misters.
Nothing will change.
They think.
But they’ve forgotten one things.
This showing of papers didn’t work for Hilter.
We won.
And we will win again.