How About a Nice, Old-Fashioned Protest?

by francine Hardaway on November 5, 2007

I grew up in the ’60s, when the American public protested if it didn’t like something. Hundreds of thousands of people marched on Washington and on New York during the Viet Nam War. Eventually, we put enough pressure on President Johnson to retire and on Congress to get us out of the war.

Fast forward almost exactly forty years. Over the weekend, an old buddy of mine from high school, Dan Pochoda, who has spent his life defending the rights of prisoners to be rehabilitated rather than merely warehoused and abused (don’t get me started on this, because one of my foster kids was in prison and I know far more about the prison system than I ever thought I would), was arrested after he stopped by the scene of a protest to introduce himself to its leader because his current job is that of legal director for the ACLU. The offense: Misdemeanor trespassing. The place? A furniture store. The location? In the City of Phoenix. Arrested for this? Thrown in jail? Kept overnight? You’ve got to be kidding.

Reminder: my friend Dan is retirement age, and would be retired if he had spent his life as an attorney in a large law firm in New York, where we grew up. But, after being educated at all the same places that turn out hedge fund managers and Goldman Sachs partners, Dan turned to the greater good.

Likewise my friend Mike Lacey,  owner of Village Voice Media, who co-founded the New Times in 1971 after dropping out of ASU, for the express purpose of protesting the press coverage of the war. Lacey’s a little younger than Dan and me, but not all that much when you realize that he, too, was arrested by Sheriff Arpaio and put in jail overnight for a misdemeanor. Fortunately, the entire journalistic community rose up in arms and got the charges dropped before Arpaio could come after the records of the New Times.  What records did they want? Records of readers who visited the New Times web site over a multi-year period.

Both of these guys were arrested and thrown in jail by members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, even though in theory they were in the City of Phoenix and the City should have had jurisdiction. Not to mention that they committed misdemeanor offenses that in an overcrowded jail system might have been worthy of nothing but a ticket.

But I’m not a lawyer and I don’t want to rise and fall on the details of who arrested whom, where, and why.

The important point is that I live in a Red state (remember when Reds were Communists?) and we have a sheriff in the 5th largest Metro area of the United States who is out of control.

A more important point: no one seems to care. Although President Bush has a 33% approval rating, Congress has a 25% approval rating, some 70-% of the country thinks we are going in the wrong direction, and we are about to perform the extraordinary feat of unifying the entire Muslim world — which has never before happened in human history –no one seems to care.

Why is it only people my age who care? We will all be gone soon, resting in the glorious Heavens and reincarnations of our separate belief systems, or pushing up daisies.  We won’t have to live with global warming, creeping authoritarianism, a declining dollar, a failure to re-tool the new world of technology, outsourcing, lost jobs, outdated immigration policies, and meth addiction. Oh, and the failure of our health care system.

How come, my younger friends, with whom I have so much fun every day, YOU don’t care?  How much linkbait do I have to put in this non-tech post to convince you to read it? Twitterers, Facebookers, Powncers and Flickrs,  members of my social graph, my social media starfish,  intelligentsia of the future — DO SOMETHING! EVEN IF IT’S WRONG.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan F. Heywood November 5, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Unbelievable! Another example of Sheriff Joke’s outrageous and self-serving manipulation of the legal system. Taxpayers of Maricopa County should demand accounting of the MCSO, both moral and fiscal.

At the very least, we need to vote him out of office the very next chance we get.

Steven Groves November 6, 2007 at 10:15 am

You are such a troublemaker – guess that’s why we all love you so much… go rouse the rabble!

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