Joe Arpaio and His Disciples – The Reality

A tape has surfaced in which Joe Arpaio, the Republican Sheriff from Arizona, shows how much disdain he has for federal authorities, and in the in the process, Latinos. In a speech to right-wing, supremacist anti-Latino group Texans for Immigration Reform, he talks about his reaction to the federal investigation against him.

In the September 2009 speech in Houston, Arpaio boasted that he arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants after politicians and federal investigators started to pick apart his patrols. He said he wouldn’t cooperate with the inquiry, but said he would tone down the patrols — if he was proven wrong.

“But I’m not. After they went after me, we arrested 500 more just for spite,” the self-proclaimed “America’s toughest sheriff” said, pausing for laughter and applause.

Now, he’s saying it was an off the cuff speech, not for official purposes, but when he opens his big mouth, you can bank on it that it is all about politics. Whomever has kissed him up, he has provided some sort of support, including some of the right-wing Republcians running for Harris County Sheriff  and other elected positions.

As far as those in right wing organization that the media seems to give some semblance of credibility to, their thought of this issue being a cause for laughter shows what they’re really about.

Although there was a Democratic response from Arizona, Arpaio isn’t phased by it.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Gallardo, a longtime Arpaio critic who listened to portions of the speech, said the sheriff’s comments prove that he uses illegal immigrants to elevate his national political profile.

“This is not about enforcing our laws,” Gallardo said. “This is about going after human beings. This is about targeting elected officials. This is about, exactly, using immigrants as props or pawns in his own world.”

For his part, Arpaio said his only regret in making the speech was that he used the wrong figure for the number of illegal immigrants arrested after the civil rights inquiry began.

“It was wrong,” Arpaio said. “It wasn’t 500. It was thousands.”

The thing is, we can sit around and complain about Arpaio and call him and his disciples every name in the book, or we can make sure that Arpaio’s racism does not become a vehicle for public policy here in Texas and Harris County–more so than usual.

In other words, VOTE! And in this case, we need to vote for Democrats who are on the correct side of the issue. (Notice, I didn’t say “all of them”?)

(Chalk this one up as another one of my lectures on the obvious.)

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