Is Penzone Truly
Different From Arpaio?
The Defeat Of Joe Arpaio Would Undoubtedly Be A Time Of Victory For The Sheriff’s Foes, But Paul Penzone Would Retain The Use Of Tent City, Deportations
Paul Penzone is seeking to unseat Joe Arpaio. Images by Gage Skidmore and others and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine
Nov. 4, 2012 — I’ve come to a realization, more of an epiphany, actually, that the Phoenix immigrant-rights movement seems to be OK with undocumented people being arrested, deported and otherwise abused, as long as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not behind it.
Otherwise, why would Puente Arizona, Tona Tierra, Randy Parazz and his Citizens for a Better Arizona, and many others, be on the Paul Penzone band wagon?
How else does one explain their complete acceptance of the former Phoenix Police sargeant as their “only hope,” according to People Against Arpaio Facebook page admin Devin Fleenor?
Besides the widely known fact that the Phoenix police department is the arresting agency behind more deportations than Joe’s MCSO, Penzone is also planning on keeping tent city open for business, cracking down on illegal immigration, and otherwise maintaining Maricopa County’s terrible status quo.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not siding with Uncle Joe here, but I don’t think it is too much to ask for a supposedly “liberal” candidate to have closing the tents as part of their platform.
The tents should be one of the most disputed issues in the election.
Even before I moved to Phoenix, I heard of the horrendous conditions within Tent City. It’s an issue that has earned publicity around the world. Certain countries will not even extradite to Maricopa County because of the tents, and this “anti-Arpaio” movement can’t even offer me a candidate who wants to close them down.
The tents aren’t just part of Arpaio’s immigration focus. All sorts of people can be put into the dehumanizing concentration camp at the Lower Buckeye Jail.
It would appear that immigration movement as well as the democratic “left” in Arizona is perfectly fine with nonviolent criminals like DUI offenders and narcotics offenders being locked in an outdoor facility in the middle of the desert — whether it be Sheriff Joe or anyone else.
Activist Danielle Nieto shared a story with me about an undocumented child who had witnessed her mother raped by her father, and was too afraid to contact the authorities for fear of the family being separated.
Nieto claimed it was stories such as that one that compelled her to vote against Sheriff Joe and make sure her community was to be rid of him.
Well, if Penzone should win this election, that child may lose that fear of calling the authorities, but will still be quite displeased if her family is deported by Penzone’s goons instead of Arpaio’s, or whatever local police department responded.
But Nieto’s story of a child did bring to mind another really negative thought about the Paul Penzone campaign.
On more than one occasion I have seen a group of about four 10 to 14 year old brown skinned children get on the light rail, with their Adios Arpaio Stickers and T-shirts and clipboards, to register people to vote.
Obviously the adults in these children’s lives are telling them the immense life changing importance of getting Joe Arpaio out of office. Getting the young innocent children to abandon their PlayStations and bring those puppy dog eyes to the sympathetic public is a feat within itself.
But what happens if Penzone wins? Those children will breathe easy in thinking that the terrible evil sheriff has fallen and been replaced by the noble Paul Penzone, and that their contribution helped to bring about safety for undocumented immigrants.
But if any of those children have undocumented family members, and Penzone wins, those undocumented family members are in just as likely to be deported as they were under Arpaio.
Not only would those children learn the harsh life lesson that the American political game is rigged, they will also lose a great deal of trust in the adults in their lives for being so momentously misled.
They deserve better.
We all deserve better.
Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend, OccupyUprising.org and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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