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Sheriff Joe criticism misplaced

After meeting with Sheriff Joe Arpaio for about 20 minutes in an interview, then listening to the man billed ‘As America’s Toughest Sheriff’ speak for the better part of an hour Saturday evening, Aug. 21, I couldn’t help but wonder why such controversy follows the Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff. And for that matter, why St. Joseph Catholic Church in Corydon received such criticism for hosting Arpaio.
I could understand some criticism from people wondering if the church would want to jump into the political forum because, even though there wasn’t much discussion in the way of politics, the event was hosted by the county’s Republican Party. But, to say that because St. Joe’s has a strong Hispanic membership, it shouldn’t host Sheriff Joe because he’s a ‘bigot’ is shallow, immature and just plain ignorant.
We’re talking about a man who worked closely with the Mexican government to help fight drug trafficking and cartels earlier in his career as a federal agent. He hosted Mexican officials in his home to hash out plans for defeating the drug lords. He’s anything but a bigot and should be commended for his service defending our nation both in Korea and in the fierce drug battles in Mexico.
Why would a strong Hispanic membership be a cause to not host Arpaio? Because he has cast illegal immigrants from Mexico back to Mexico? It appears people have lost or forgotten the meaning of illegal. If there’s one person who’s fit to combat illegal activity, a sheriff would be at the top of the list. After all, it’s Arpaio’s and every other sheriff’s business to enforce the law, every law, not just illegal immigration. Like Arpaio said, why have the law if it’s not to be enforced? It’s not a hard concept to grasp.
Now, if one disagrees with the law, illegal immigration or any other, it should not be taken up with the sheriff. If you don’t like the law, lobby legislators to change it. Again, pretty simple.
Much of the criticism had to come from those who didn’t attend the event, because Arpaio didn’t spend much time speaking about illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is obviously a problem, especially in an area like Arpaio’s populated jurisdiction in Arizona. And, when asked, he gave a solid common-sense, progressive approach to bringing a halt to illegal immigration with a combined effort between the United States and Mexican governments.
Arpaio joked that he was disappointed with his visit because there were no demonstrators in Indiana. But some of the images displayed by protesters have undoubtedly caused Arpaio grief or at least disbelief. Arpaio said he wishes folks would at least respect the uniform he wears.
But, respect and dignity are the first things to go out the window when someone or a group of someones has the fortitude to actually disagree with a certain political leaning.