Friday, April 10, 2009

Send In The Clowns

Once again, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under intense scrutiny for the way he allegedly conducts the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in what he calls “crime suppression sweeps.” Others call it racial profiling, comparing Arpaio to Bull Connor.

This isn’t the first time that Sheriff Joe has been in the thick of controversy. The Mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, who has repeatedly proven that he’s intellectually bankrupt and has the spine of a well-cooked shrimp, wrote the U.S. Attorney General, begging for help after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency came from DC to MCSO execute their crime suppression sweeps and dig deep into its records.

ICE found nothing improper or illegal about what the Sheriff was doing. Neither did the Attorney General.

Before she fled from the Copper State to work for the Obama Administration, our own governor, Janet Napolitano, teamed up with the Mayor and basically took Sheriff Joes’s check book away, thinking that would stop him from, as he put it, “enforcing the law.”

That didn’t work either.

So, in a curious and maybe fortuitous, turn of events just this week the Reverend Al Sharpton decided he would join Bertha Lewis, CEO and chief organizer for ACORN, and loudly called for the resignation of Sheriff Joe – all the way from New York City.

And, the Rev blustered, if Sheriff Joe didn’t step down, he vowed to come to Phoenix next month, organize activists, protestors and gadflies alike, and march in the streets.

The sheriff responded in his usual way when asked about Al Sharpton coming to town, he was more than inviting, “If they want to come down here, be my guest.” But he did offer this little nugget of advice when Gaydos and I interviewed him on KTAR. Arpaio reminded Al Sharpton that he’d better brush up on Arizona law. Sheriff Joe wouldn’t want Revered Al or anyone else from New York City violating our laws and taking a detour to Tent City.

The Reverend Al Sharpton has been a polemic and divisive and instigating figure for over 20 years now. He and other so-called “activists” like to parachute in to a community, not because of social injustice, not because of oppression of a certain ethnicities, but for one thing: publicity.

But Reverend Al Sharpton hasn’t seen Joe Arpaio at work. The Sheriff is also a master manipulator of the media, never shying away from a microphone or television camera.

If Al Sharpton brings his posse of do-gooders here to Phoenix, he will only help Sheriff Joe stay in office.

Even Sheriff Joe recognizes that. “My approval ratings are in the 80’s (percentile), if he [Sharpton] comes, it’ll go up to 99 percent,” he boasted on KTAR. Arpaio is absolutely correct when he made that assertion.

What Phil Gordon, Elias Bermudez, Rev. Al, etc., don’t realize is that the sheriff is an elected official. If people didn’t like the job he was doing, he wouldn’t continual be voted back into office. He’s appointed, not by an elected political hero, but by the people. And the people have spoken. They like Sheriff Joe, they like pink underwear and Tent City and they like a guy who doesn’t shy away from controversy.

So when the circus comes to town next month, and Al Sharpton is marching down Central Avenue, Sheriff Joe will be there and there will be a fight. Not a riot between protestors and police, but a fight for TV time. Reverend Al will talk of hate crime, racial profiling and injustice. Meanwhile the Sheriff will spout off the same, tired line that has gotten him re-elected, “I’m just enforcing the law.”

Let Al Sharpton come. Let him organize. Let people march in the streets with their signs, screaming that the MCSO is racist, engages in racial profiling, and harasses only certain ethnic groups. Sheriff Joe’s approval ratings will ascend like the main tent in the Big Top.

And then remember, Reverend Al Sharpton, it was P.T. Barnum who once said, there’s a sucker born every minute.

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