Arpaio is the worst kind of lawbreaker – the kind who wears a badge.
Nothing erodes public trust in law enforcement or the rule of law more than willful lawbreaking by those who have sworn an oath to serve and protect, and uphold the law. Arpaio’s actions are akin to the rogue officer who commits a violent offense against an unarmed citizen.
Whom among us condones such abuse of power? The Commander-in-Chief of the United States – that’s who. A common characteristic of a so-called ‘banana republic’ is a strong-man as head of state who abuses his authority and arbitrarily rewards loyal cronies. Such blatant affront to the rule of law and system of justice creates a level of citizen mistrust and cynicism that cannot easily be restored.
When this sort of corrupt hubris emanates from a head of state, the fabric of society suffers immeasurably.
It is not unheard of that U.S. presidents issue controversial pardons. However, timing and the underlying reasons for criminal conviction determine the potential corrosive effects on the nation.
Mr. Arpaio was convicted of crimes directly related to issues of bigotry, racism, due process, and equality under the law. Serious, serious matters for a sheriff obligated to uphold the legal principles of equality and justice. The nature of Arpaio’s criminal convictions, as well as the timing of this insensitive pardon, confirms what we have come to know about the 45th President of the United States. The entire world has come to know that the current ‘leader of the free world’ is better suited to be an authoritarian of a banana republic, who reliably takes care of his loyal cronies, and himself.
A disheartening day for the cause of justice and for America’s moral authority.