Guest Commentary 

Why did Isabel Garcia choose to take on Joe Arpaio in such a violent, tyrannical way?

Isabel Garcia is in the news again. This time, she participated in a rather vulgar display of fear and loathing during a protest against the presence of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a Barnes and Noble right here in the Old Pueblo.

For those of you unfamiliar with Garcia, she is a co-chair of Coalición de Derechos Humanos (that's "Human Rights Coalition" for you gringos), and when she's not attending a protest, she heads up Pima County's Legal Defender's Office. The legal defender is similar to the public defender, only separate ... go figure.

Garcia is, of course, untouchable and beyond criticism, but "Jon Justice" apparently did not get the memo.

I must take a moment to comment on Justice's parents' choice of "Jon" for his first name. How boring! They could have picked something clever like "Street," "Cowboy" or even "Owtfer."

Anyway, Justice hosts a local radio talk show on KQTH FM 104.1, on which he promoted the ideas that Garcia should be fired from her county position, arrested for violating a string of laws and sent to a psychiatrist.

This stuff can be read on the show blog for a good laugh. As with most absurd humor, it is the grain of truth contained therein that makes it work. The one redeeming aspect of this particular kerfuffle is its entertainment value.

So, what did Garcia do that made Justice see red? As I mentioned earlier, she attended the protest of Joe Arpaio at which she cheered on two children who beat an effigy of the good sheriff to pieces; then Garcia picked up the dismembered head, held it aloft and paraded around the parking lot with it.

If you really want to laugh out loud (that would be LOL for you teenagers), read the postings at the Coalición de Derechos Humanos Web site. Watch the video of the incident on YouTube, then read their description. They try to paint a picture resembling the scene in Napoleon Dynamite in which the smiling blindfolded children swing at a piñata in the image of Pedro's opponent, hanging in a tree. But the Arpaio protest really looked like the Rodney King beating with a cheering section, with kids instead of cops. Nice try, guys!

My favorite part of the Derechos Humanos postings is where Garcia whines about threats to her job and free-speech rights. She then launches a campaign that threatens Justice's job and the station for which he works. She says that the radio station proffers "hate speech" and implores people to "demand accountability from those who would support hate media."

Yes, and the dismembered head was all warmth and fuzzy bunnies. You can't make this stuff up!

On the serious side, I like honest discourse, particularly with open-minded parties. That's kinda how it works in free societies. If people can change their minds of their own accord through objective review, then everyone is happy, and the truth often prevails. In less-free societies, a more tyrannical approach of vilification and hatred toward those with whom one disagrees seems to carry the day.

Why do you suppose that Garcia chose the tyrannical approach? It's not as if there are no specific accusations of unethical and even criminal behavior against Joe Arpaio, including everything from vindictive retaliation to suspicious jail deaths. Why does she not build a case? She's a lawyer, after all. I suspect that if she made a cogent argument for Arpaio's removal, in the way that Justice made a case for her removal, there would be no fight. Perhaps the fight is what it is all about.

By the way (BTW), am I the only one who is bothered by the use of children in this mess, particularly in the role of ceremonial sheriff killers? I am really glad that the children were not wearing brown shirts. Watching them beat the effigy in those colors would not have been the least bit humorous.

More by Jonathan Hoffman


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