Monday, August 28, 2017

Pardoned Arpaio cheats ‘justice,’ yet someone must pay. Will it be Trump?

It wasn’t surprising to learn that President Donald J. Trump would feel compelled to grant a pardon (his first act of clemency) toward one of the most repulsive characters ever to wear a law enforcement badge.
TRUMP: President of the xenophobes?

Offensive? Yes. Immoral? Of course!

BUT IT IS totally in character when one considers Trump would not want to be a guy who would want one-time Maricopa, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio punished. He probably thinks it wrong that a law enforcement officer would wind up having to do jail time – even the miniscule sentence that Arpaio was facing.

So the president went ahead and used his power of clemency to undermine the federal prosecutors who got a criminal conviction earlier this year against Arpaio, and were seeking his sentencing come October – when he was likely to face up to six months in jail (probably at a minimum-security facility where extra effort would be made to ensure he was not attacked by other inmates).

Arpaio will never have to face that moment of standing before a judge and hearing that he’s now just another convict. He’ll never have to sit in a cell as punishment for his crimes.

Which, in all honesty, was a moment that a segment of our society was eager to see happen. I suspect that Trump feeling nothing but spite for those people most repulsed by Arpaio were his strongest motivations for issuing a pardon.

FOR ALL I know, Trump may not even truly comprehend what it was that Arpaio did wrong that brought his time as the Phoenix area’s sheriff before prosecutors to begin with.

Arpaio is the guy who likes to think he’s the rough-and-tough lawman who cracks down on criminals. He’s the guy who ran his jail under overly harsh conditions, and he was the one whose deputies often conducted raids of Latino neighborhoods in search of people without valid visas to live in this country.

I’m sure some nitwits will claim that Arpaio is merely the guy who made jail inmates wear pink underwear. But he was the guy who was calling for harassment of people with no real probable cause. Unless you believe being Latino is criminal?
ARPAIO: Won't do the time for his crime

What ultimately got Arpaio into legal trouble is when the courts ruled that the sheriff’s tactics exceeded the limits of the law, yet he persisted with them anyway.

BECAUSE HARASSING PEOPLE whose ethnic origins lie within Mexico was more important to him than actually following the letter of the law to which he was supposed to uphold. Particularly ironic considering that Arizona’s origins lie within Mexico and the Spanish colonies, and one could argue that the people Arpaio was protecting were the real “foreigners.”

But with Trump’s desire to rely solely on the xenophobes with particularly irrational hang-ups with regards to Mexico, it’s no wonder he’d seek to protect Arpaio.

Particularly since his campaign promise of erecting a wall along the U.S./Mexico border is one likely never to come true, he has to be able to claim to have done something that the nativist element of our society. Does protecting Arpaio from having to do laundry detail while serving time in a minimum-security prison facility make up for it? I’m sure Trump is hoping so.

What is going to make this particular pardon stand it is that Arpaio really didn’t fit the usual guidelines for clemency. Usually, someone has to wait a few years before they can even apply for a pardon.

THE POINT BEING that the person in question must actually serve the time. The point of a pardon being to ease the level of shame they must go through during the rest of their lives because of their actions that put them in prison for a stint.
Wonder what he thinks of pink shorts now?

In that regard, Arpaio is likely to go through his life as an unapologetic ass who will “get away” with his actions that brought great harm to people. He’ll probably die thinking he did nothing wrong – even though the Supreme Court of the United States itself has said that accepting a pardon IS an admission of guilt.

But karma has a way of biting back; someone is going to have to suffer for this act of clemency being issued.

Which could wind up being Trump himself, since he has now besmirched his legacy in ways that he likely will never fully appreciate as the xenophobic president, but which the Trump name will have a hard time living down for generations to come.


EDITOR’S NOTE: A poll last week by OH Predictive Insights said only 21 percent of Arizona residents wanted the president to offer clemency to Joe Arpaio – who ceased being sheriff last year after losing a re-election bid. It will be interesting to see how big a plummet Trump takes in his own approval ratings; as he had only 35 percent support in the Gallup Organization’s presidential approval poll taken just before he issued his clemency Friday night – likely hoping people would be focused on Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas to pay any attention to Arpaio.

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