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 the Borders Book Store right here in the Old Pueblo.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Garcia, she is a co-chair of Coalicion de Derechos Humanos ( thatâ€™s â€œHuman Rights Coalitionâ€ for you gringos), and when sheâ€™s not attending a protest, she heads up Pima Countyâ€™s Legal Defender office. The Legal Defender is similar to the Public Defender, only separateâ€¦ go figure.
Ms. 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 Mr. Justiceâ€™s parentsâ€™ choice of â€œJonâ€ for his first name. How boring! They could have picked something clever like â€œStreetâ€, â€œCowboyâ€, or even â€œOwtfer.â€
Anyway, Mr. Justice hosts a local radio talk show which he used to promote the ideas that Ms. Garcia should be fired from her County position, arrested for violated 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 Ms. Garcia do that made Mr. Justice see red? As I mentioned earlier, she attended the protest of Joe Arpaio where she cheered on the two children who beat an effigy of the good sheriff to pieces, then Ms. 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 Coalicion de Derechos Humanos website. Watch the video of the incident on YouTube, then read their description. They try to paint a picture resembling the scene in â€œNapoleon Dynamiteâ€ where the smiling blindfolded children swing at a piÃ±ata, in the image of Pedroâ€™s opponent, hanging in a tree; but it really looked like the Rodney King beating with a cheering section, with kids instead of cops. Nice try guys!
My favorite part is where Ms. Garcia whines about threats to her job and free speech rights. She then launches a campaign that threatens Mr. Justiceâ€™s job, and the station for which he works. She says that the radio station proffers â€œhate speechâ€, and implores people to â€œdemand accountability from those who would support hate media.â€ Yes, and the dismembered head was all warmth and fuzzy bunnies.
You canâ€™t make this stuff up!
On the serious side, I like honest discourse, particularly with open-minded parties. Thatâ€™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 Ms. Garcia chooses the tyrannical approach? Itâ€™s not as if there are no specific accusations of unethical and even criminal behavior against Joe Arpaio â€“ everything from vindictive retaliations to suspicious jail deaths have been reported. Why does she not build a case? Sheâ€™s a lawyer after all. I suspect that if she made a cogent argument for Arpaioâ€™s removal, in the way that Mr. Justice made a case for her removal, there would be no fight. Perhaps he 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 old enough to be in AmeriCorps. Watching them beat the effigy in those brown shirts that they wear would not have been the least bit humorous.