When Fourthamendment.com calls Maricopa County “a banana republic where the Sheriff can intimidate any official he wants,” it’s a good sign we’ve reached a low point. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, though the sheriff’s willingness to intimidate isn’t limited to officials. It’s depressing.
Nobody here is safe, and this should be getting a lot more press. The mainstream, national media seems to be ignoring Maricopa County altogether. I’m still seeing more traffic going to posts about David DeCosta and smoking bans than goes to posts about what could be the breakdown of constitutional government as we know it. It seems no one is listening.
I like to think that things I do are important, but I also try to be realistic. I don’t know if anyone cares what I think. I don’t know if most people in Maricopa County care about what anyone thinks. Read this opinion and the comments. Read the first comment to this post. A lot of people seem to think this is an attack on Sheriff Joe by people who oppose his tough stance on illegal immigration. Those people probably don’t read blawgs. They probably don’t read the New York Times either. They don’t like undocumented immigrants, and any attack on the sheriff is an attack on their position on the issue that matters most to them.
I doubt that anyone outside of Maricopa County has the power to make a difference. The feds have more firepower than Sheriff Joe, but what makes people think the DOJ is willing to do anything meaningful about it? I’d love to see a national opinion poll on what Sheriff Joe is doing. The DOJ can start as many hotlines as it wants, but it’ll just incite people to write things like this and this. It’ll rally the troops behind Sheriff Joe.
The question I pose in this post’s title isn’t rhetorical. The solutions I’ve proposed all involve changing the way people think. I can write all I want, but I can’t make people read. I can speak all I want, but I can’t make people listen. A little less than half of my caseload is in Maricopa County, but that’s increasing. The number of battles I fight on behalf of individual clients may grow, but that isn’t the kind of change it takes to stop the insanity here.
If I’m right and the only way to end this is by changing public opinion, how do I help? This blog probably isn’t enough. My caseload isn’t enough. If there’s some way to change things without having to change the way people think, what is it?