There was a time when I admired Sheriff Joe Arpaio. After all, I listened faithfully to Rush Limbaugh, who painted a colorful picture of the tough sheriff. He donned his prisoners in pink undies and fed them bologna sandwiches. Moreover, he was the law-and-order guy who guarded the Arizona border from illegal immigrants.
I saw him speak back in 2010, during the height of the Tea Party movement. Arpaio came to the Kansas City area to endorse Kris Kobach on his successful campaign for Kansas Secretary of State. It was quite the event. Greeting us as we arrived at the large event hall were protestors, holding signs opposing the sheriff’s presence. On top of that, midway through the event, a site rep came on stage and announced a bomb threat. Everyone quickly evacuated. Since our car was roped off, we couldn’t leave the parking lot, so we walked across the street with friends for beer and burgers.
I found Arpaio to be as fascinating as Limbaugh said he was. Here was a sheriff who actually enforced the law, just as our future secretary of state would do. He’s the ultimate Conservative Lawman, right?
However, excuse me if I don’t do my Happy Dance after Trump pardoned him. I now see there’s a really dark side of Arpaio that his cheerleaders would rather hide from view.