01 December 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Singing Forces Arpaio Out of ASU Forum

Protesters at Arizona State University courageously interpreted a first amendment forum where the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio was interviewed in a ‘Meet the Press’ style. With protesters singing a must-read ‘Immigration Rhapsody,’ the Sheriff ended up playing dodgeball and walking out of a scrutinizing session.

You can watch the whole video here.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is unhappy. So are the students who attended the conference.  Maybe the behavior of the protesters is misplaced but it is nothing compared to the behavior of attention-holic Sheriff Arpaio who has no problem forcing women to give birth while shackled, parading immigrants in pink underwear and conducting racial profiling while ignoring real law enforcement priorities. After all, the singing started just as Arpaio started defending his immigration policies.

Comparatively, singing him off the forum is nothing — the U.S. Department of Justice should have shackled and dragged Arpaio away in pink underwear with his ‘Wilbur the Wildcat’ mascot. Instead, Arpaio has escaped virtually unscathed with just a slap on his wrist under the new Obama Administration. Giving him a public forum to explain his despicable behavior is a futile exercise in journalistic integrity. Protesters felt like they had waited too long already to give the ‘press’ an opportunity to grill the Sheriff. And Arpaio knew beforehand that some students would not cut him much slack.

There is nothing wrong with youth protesters showing engagement and directly challenging the space given to nativists such as Tom Tancredo, Jim Gilchrist and now Joe Arpaio. After all, they are merely learning from the likes of Joe ‘You Lie’ Wilson that shouting down a speaker gets results. Who can blame them?

We live in an increasingly combative culture, with battle-lines drawn, messaging finalized and little space for civil discussions that lead to positive changes. The level of disenfranchisement experienced by youth and immigrants sometimes leaves little room to do anything but shout, scream and in this case, sing their way into the spotlight.

In light of this, giving the perniciously simple “Deport them all” a challenge is another simple concept called “No justice, No peace.”

(Photo Credit: Jack Fitzpatrick – Jack_Be_Quick on Twitpic)

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