My first blog was a rant against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This is not a rant. It’s a direct request to his supporters to rethink their support of him and an attempt by me to be more understanding of their concerns however much I disagree with them. Through his own deeds his support has waned but I know he has many friends — perhaps you.
I realize that there might have been something comfortable even quaint about having the nation’s toughest sheriff, as he promoted himself. It was almost economic development. It no longer is. He is a national joke.
I know that he represents the way things were and the way many would like things to be. The state’s a little browner and in most of our lives, certainly in our children’s lives, the majority of this state will be non-white. The whole country is more divided. Okay, it’s irritating when someone at the drive through window who speaks in his language or with an accent does not quite understand you. Or when someone at the pharmacy talks with an accent and you have to struggle to understand. For the most part no one likes change, and Arizona HAS and IS changing.
But forget all of that for a moment. A large percentage of you have children. Most of you have worked hard or are still working. You were laborers, accountants, human resource professionals, and various levels of management, or blue collar folk. I’ve been white collar and blue collar.
If Joe worked for you what would you have done if you headed the accounting department? Would it be OK if he misused funds? Would you have written him up? Fired him? Would you have put your own job at risk if you didn’t? Would you have let him hire cronies?
If you were in security would you have allowed racial profiling, for which he is now being investigated? Is it OK with you that a Hispanic Iraq war hero could be stopped and pulled over because of the color of his skin? Would you have supported him if he admitted he did not investigate child abuse cases? What if one of those children were a friend of a friend? What if conditions in his facilities were so bad that many local and national organizations are still investigating him for inhumane treatment of men and women? What if he used his position of power to go after other professionals and their careers.? What if you were his boss, and he reported to you? Would this activity be OK? Would you report it? Would you discipline him?
Is this still a matter of what we think about our nations immigration policy or your feelings about fundamental changes in this country, or has this become a matter of right and wrong. I think it’s the latter, and if you were honest with yourself, Joe Arpaio would be gone.
Certainly as suggested above he would have been fired long ago in the private sector. The Risk Management Department would have a heart attack. Human Resources would be derelict to ignore him. Accounting would be raiding other budgets to pay for wrongful death suits, increased insurance premiums, and misappropriation of funds.
Maybe you’ve never held a management position. But, many of you are parents and grandparents. Many of you were lucky; your children grew up without turmoil or trouble. And, some of you had small periods of time where your children lost their compass for a bit. It only takes one unlucky night to be arrested and be in Joe’s jail. A youthful night out, a loss of judgement, and there but for the grace of God go one of yours into Arpaio’s jail.
So forget all the corrupt and incompetent activity I have mentioned. Let’s forget our political differences. Let’s forget his buffoonery as if he was the national arbiter of the authenticity of the President’s birth certificate. Let’s forget all his self-serving publicity stunts. Forget all that and let me call the roll call of the six people who have died in his custody which cost millions in wrongful death suits, but lets even forget the money. Taps please for:
Charles Agstar III August 2011; Clint Yarbrough Dec 2005, Deborah Brailand Dec. 2005; Brian Crenshaw March 2005; Scott Norberg June 1996; and Philip Wilson July 2003.
I am asking those of you who are supporters, or maybe on the fence, to reconsider your support of this man. Many call us crazy for trying, but I have more faith in you than they do. We will not agree politically; we do not need to. I think you know the difference between right and wrong. Right and wrong, that is what this is about.
I am asking you to exercise judgement, if not by signing a recall petition, but by exercising your rights in the voting booth. You know what the right thing to do. Yes, it’s a hard job being Sheriff, but there are better men to do it.