A terrifying vision of what America can become

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In the state of Arizona, few public figures are more popular than Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff.

A tough-talking Republican who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” Arpaio has gained fame for his unorthodox (to be polite) approach, which includes forcing inmates to wear pink underwear and housing them in outdoor tents during his state’s notorious 110-degree summers. Throughout his tenure he was run regular sweeps through his district’s heavily Hispanic areas, arresting people for the most minor of indiscretions, then finding the illegals and having them deported. When he was told he must cease the practice, he responded by doing it again and again and again. “I wanted to show everybody it didn’t make a difference,” Arpaio said of the Obama administration’s order.

In today’s Los Angeles Times, Nicholas Riccardi writes a riveting—and chilling—profile of the man; a profile that screams to conservative Americans MAY YOU BE DAMNED TO GET WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

What’s most frightening about Arpaio is that he’s beloved—he won his last election with 55 percent of the votes, and, according to the Times, polls well in the next governor’s race (should he choose to run). As soon as I read the Times piece I was reminded of Bull Connor, perhaps the most notorious lBullConnor_APaw man in modern American history and a person who stands as the model of what happens when officials hold excessive sway. Back in the 1960s, when Connor was Birmingham’s public safety commissioner, law enforcement agencies were ordered to suppress black uprisings via any means necessary. Hence, all those black-and-white videos and photographs and dogs and hoses and clubs. That was Connor, and it sounds a helluva lot like Arpaio.

Really, both men are the result of anger and insecurity running amok; of people fearing the unknown and fighting back with unnecessary, unconstitutional uses of force. Many conservatives I know deem this sort of response as a necessary way to safeguard democracy.

I, on the other hand, consider it to be the death of democracy.

8 thoughts on “A terrifying vision of what America can become”

  1. lol. Old people vote for him. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m writing to you from Tempe. We are not under a gestapo Everything is fine. Chill out. AZ is a republican voter base with lots of old people. This aint chinese algebra.

  2. Well, the guy sound like a grade-A douche bag. But really, I’m failing to see what’s so wrong with making immigrants show that they’re legal, especially when they’re guilty of doing something illegal (remember – a ‘minor’ infraction is still an infraction).

    I mean, if they’re a legal citizen, it’ll be fine, and if they’re not, isn’t that the risk they run by immigrating illegally?

  3. Thanks for the tip, Jeff. Great article by the LAT. Important reading and very chilling. How can this happen in our country? How can so many people be so callous and wrongheaded?

  4. I think Arpaio is a sad excuse for a public servant and the definition of a “pig”…but Bull Connor?

    I missed the part where the fire hoses and hungry German Shepherds were let loose on the opressed minorities of Phoenix who dared to, ya know, vote or sit at a lunch counter. Bad analogy dude.

  5. I actually don’t have a problem with his immigration enforcement, though he only started them when the issue became big nationally (around 2004). I have a bigger problem with the fact that several non-violent offenders have died in his jails. Also, his SWAT guys burned down a house during a raid for a misdemeanor. They had armored vehicles, automatic weapons, etc., all for a freaking misdemeanor warrant! This is like the former Soviet Union.

  6. Another thing, he launches investigations and raids his political opponents (anyone that criticizes him). Anyway, Arizona is a screwed up state anyway (they don’t rank too highly in most measures of living standards, i.e. health, education, etc.).

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