Against the advice of his Attorney General, the Speaker of the House and both republican senators from Arizona; President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio on Friday August 25th. If you have never spent time reading about the atrocities committed at the behest of Joe Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, you should. Arpaio’s jails, predominantly filled with Mexican immigrants, were cesspools of rape, torture, child molestation and death. The evidence against Arpaio’s crimes against humanity has been overwhelming. Over the years, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” cost the people of Maricopa County more than $146 Million in fines, fees, settlements and court awards from lawsuits and complaints brought on by many of the victims of his reign of terror. In 2015, the U.S. Justice Department concluded that Arpaio oversaw the “worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history” – a pretty big statement. After refusing to respect a federal court order that directed him to cease the practice of using racial profiles to detain people, Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court. His pardon came a few weeks before he was scheduled to be sentenced.
A friend of mine who is a prominent businessman and close personal friend of Senator John McCain, said that he visited a number of people who had been detained by the Arpaio posse including several young women who showed him scars on their hands and arms from the plastic ties that were used as shackles and handcuffs. Needless to say, I am disgusted by the Arpaio pardon, as are millions of Latinos and other Americans regardless of political persuasion.
I think its fair to say that some people call out racism a little too frequently. The bar for using that explosive term should be higher. Good people should be able to disagree on a variety of political, economic and social issues. Nobody should call you a racist because you believe our borders should be more secure. Nobody should call you a racist because you are proud of your Anglo-Saxon, Asian, Hispanic or African American heritage. Nobody should call you a racist because you believe in free market principles. But if you have taken the time to read up on Joe Arpaio and you support what he does, then there is a good chance you lack a fundamental respect for human life, which is much worse than being a racist.