The Phoenix Newtimes is a weekly free newspaper distributed in the Phoenix area. The people behind it are the same folks responsible for the Villiage Voice. It’s generally left-leaning but not universally. I’ve been reading the Newtimes for years, and over the years they’ve had some great in-depth articles about many different things. For years they’ve published article after article about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a senile megalomaniac former DEA agent. The man’s a terrible person who’s done many terrible things, and I wonder if anyone would even know about them if it wasn’t for the Newtimes. For years, nobody else in local media would dare hint that there was anything wrong with him or question anything he’s said. Now, he’s been under federal investigation for almost three years and the tide’s changed slightly (but only slightly). I think feds are just waiting for him to die because there’s no way these investigators don’t have enough evidence to indict the man on several charges, some of them for things that are actual crimes. Generally speaking, when the federal government indicts someone famous or infamous, there are always way too many charges and they’re mostly for things that aren’t actual crimes like ‘conspiracy’ or lying to cops. In the few years that Arpaio’s actually gotten some negative press, he came up with a great idea to boost his popularity.
The idea was the immigration sweep. He sends a bunch of deputies to some part of the county, where they hang out and stop people for bullshit traffic violations and other bullshit reasons that they can think of. Then, if they’re suspected of being in the country illegally, they’re presumably deported. Sending Mexicans back to Mexico is a pretty popular idea in this county, at least among people with pink skin, white hair, and big blue sedans. The fact this practice isn’t simply tolerated but actually welcomed is pretty hard evidence in support of my hypothesis that people are really stupid and democracy is an absurd institution. I’m not too terribly bothered by these sweeps, and maybe it’s because I don’t really care about Mexicans. Their culture annoys me. I like the food, but I don’t like their music, the colors they paint their houses, their low expectations, their high birth rates, the terrible things they do to perfectly good cars, they way the whole family has to come with, and I really hate painted on eyebrows. I’m probably not the only person who feels this way, so I can see the idea of sending Mexicans back to Mexico at least sounding good, as an idea. But it’s not something that can be accomplished without violating the rights of people who are legally in the country and aren’t really doing anything wrong. Hell, if they’re illegally in the country and not doing anything wrong, I don’t see why they should be hassled.
One thing that bothered me about the sweeps was that it was the one thing that finally got him some negative press outside the Newtimes. Never mind the arrests of journalists and political opponents. Never mind the mentally unstable inmates who died in his jails at the hands of his deputies. Never mind the evidence that his net worth is a lot higher than it should be. Never mind a bunch of shit I can’t even remember. He takes on illegal immigration, and now he’s finally a bad guy. Actually, the press never really cast judgement on him, but they did finally cover the fact some people oppose his practices for once. Up until then, the only source for news on Joe Arpaio was Joe Arpaio.
Another thing that bothered me was the Newtimes itself. They started putting a lot of energy into covering the sweeps and protests and shit that doesn’t really matter. They’ve spent energy trying to paint him as a racist, as if that somehow makes him even worse than we already know he is. For a year or two now, the feature article in at least every other issue is something about the plight of the illegals, whether it’s a story about dying in the desert or some kid who does some really cool thing and didn’t even know he was an illegal immigrant until he tried to get a job. I just don’t care. I get it – Mexicans are people too. I don’t understand why they’re so interested in making me care about Mexicans in America when nobody gives a shit about Mexicans in Mexico. If they did, they might be a little more concerned with federal drug policy than Arizona’s SB1070 or Joe Arpaio’s lastest canine and equestrian extravaganza.
Since 2006, 25,000 to 40,000 people in Mexico have been killed as a result of the expansion of the US War On Drugs into Mexico. It’s been suggested that it’s a case of “caged animals attacking one another”, but among the dead are hundreds of police officers and soldiers, many politicians and journalists, and a great deal of innocent people. Never mind that the caged animals would probably be normal people with normal jobs if heavy enforcement tactics weren’t greatly boosting the profit potential of the recreational drug trade. The violence just gets worse every year. The obvious sensible solution is to pull the plug on enforcement. The Mexican government needs to stop taking our money and needs to tell us to fuck off. Our government should cease paying local law enforcement agencies to fight the drug war, fire the DEA, and legalize everything. It won’t happen, but some Mexican politicians are cautiously leaning in that direction.
Former President Vincente Fox has suggested a cease-fire, possibly offering amnesty to gang members. That idea didn’t go over well, apparently. Current Mexican President Felipe Calderon, speaking in his state of the Union Address just one week after 52 people were killed in a drug gang attack on a casino, blamed US drug consumers while carefully suggesting decriminalizationg. He said, “If [the US-ians] are determined and resigned to consuming drugs, they should look for market alternatives that annul the stratospheric profits of the criminals, or establish clear points of access that are not the border with Mexico.” That sounds a lot like he’s suggesting the US allow drug imports, presumably directly from South America.
Of course, the people who know what’s best for us are having none of that. From this blog at Reason:
…a high level State Department functionary insisted last month that the anti-cartel Merida Initiative would continue regardless of who Mexicans elected president in 2012. Hopefully Calderón grows a conscience and a spine between now and then.
It doesn’t seem very likely, and even if the legalization movement gathers steam in Mexico, they’re still doomed as long as the drugs remain very illegal in the US.
So, that’s my thought. Anyone who gives a shit about Mexicans should really be throwing their shoes at Obama and his fellow clowns, insisting they reverse this insanity, that they legalize drugs for the sake of our neighbors. It’s the only human thing to do. I’m sure the only thing most people will take from this is that I’m a racist because I don’t like Sharpie™ eyebrows.