What happens when one county in a nation of thousands is crippled by hatred? Is it merely an unfortunate reality in a city far far away? Or is it a prelude, a symptom of something more sinister that affects us all?
The response to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s intensifying oppression in Maricopa County has been inconsistent, disjointed, and ineffective. There is plenty of blame to go around, but that doesn’t matter any more. Regardless of where we now stand, we must put divisions and petty disagreements aside. We must form a united front in opposition to Sheriff Joe and his anti-immigrant hatred.
The years of avoiding unconventional forms of resistance must come to an end. It is time to embrace new methods in this struggle, and accept a diversity of tactics that resist Arpaio.
What we do or don’t do will reverberate across the country. After all, Arizona is not alone. People from every region of the nation are facing ever more oppressive anti-immigrant influences and legislation on the local level.
Arizona is ground zero and the rest of America should be fearful that their towns are not far behind. There is a movement afoot which seeks to dislodge immigrants, American families of color, and refugees from any sense of security. Now is the time to build a united front to counter it, and Arizona is where it must start. All of these communities will suffer if we do not respond.
Activists on the ground in Arizona need to pull together. Activists around the country need to do their part and support them in any way we can. Although we embrace diverse and opposing tactics for fighting bigotry in Maricopa County, we must also be singularly committed to defeating Arpaio.