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Opinion: Welcome, President Trump

21 August 2017  

President Trump is coming to Arizona. Will former Sheriff Joe Arpaio get a pardon?

As one of the organizers of the Yavapai County for Trump Committee in February 2016, I am delighted to join my fellow Trumpsters in welcoming the President we helped elect. Last year, County Trump Campaign Chairman, Brenda Dickinson, and a legion of volunteers rolled out the vote in Yavapai County to give Trump a big piece of the 3.5% margin that put Arizona firmly in his column. Now Brenda is rounding up a fresh batch of volunteers for the Big Rally this Tuesday at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The President’s visit, his first as President, has special importance for Arizona. At this writing nothing official has been announced, but there is reason to believe a Presidential pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio is in the works. This would be welcome news to those of us who hold the Sheriff in high esteem despite the allegations of racial profiling initiated by Obama era prosecutors.

I say “alleged”, because even though a Federal Judge, trying the case without a jury, has found the Sheriff guilty, Arpaio has not been sentenced. A motion for a new trial citing irregularities in the proceedings and challenging the Judge’s reasoning is now pending. Under federal law, a verdict does not become final and constitute a conviction until sentencing.

A pardon at this stage would not only end the government’s ability to further prosecute the the Sheriff, but allow him to maintain his Constitutional presumption of innocence. This may sound like a legal technicality to some. But under the law, technicalities matter. They can mean the difference between prison time and freedom, between dishonor and respectability.

For those of us who think the case against Sheriff Joe Arpaio carries the stench of a political vendetta by the Obama Justice Department, a Presidential Pardon turns the table in favor of justice.

Arpaio inspires intense hostility from the media because the charge of racial profiling touches the third rail in American public life. As the recent events in Charlottesville demonstrate, race continues to be the most toxic issue in our civic discourse.

Within a few hours of the tragic events in Charlottesville, President Trump issued a statement denouncing violence and hate. In response, virtually the entire national media erupted with denunciations of the President for not being sufficiently full throated and leaving room for moral ambiguity by placing blame on “many sides, many sides.”

For the dominant media voices, there is no moral ambiguity when it comes to race. For the left, Whites are always at fault. Even when they are the victims. The fact that Unite the Right had a permit to hold a rally and the counter protesters did not has been dropped from mainstream accounts. The fact that some of the counter protestors came armed with clubs and chemical sprays didn’t fit their narrative and has barely been noted. The fact that had the alt left not showed up to taunt and provoke the alt right, there would have been no violence is lost in the media spin of “violence on the right”.

In our nation of many peoples, many tribes and colors, the seething cauldron of racial discord is overflowing. May those on the alt right and the alt left including their enablers in the media receive their fair portion. On Tuesday, let all people of good will join together in welcoming President Trump and his wise counsel that whether we speak of Charlottesville or a Federal courtroom in Phoenix, there is blame to share.