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The Sweet Sounds of Justice: The Ballad of Joe Arpaio

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Guitar in BlueIn “The Ballad of Joe Arpaio,” the New York Times’ Lawrence Downes writes about a factory worker from New York State who rolled up his sleeves and wrote a traditional Mexican “corrido” about injustice:

Mr. Linares’s subject, the Maricopa County sheriff, is infamous for abusing prisoners, strutting on TV and arresting Latinos on flimsy pretexts. To his victims he is a figure of fear and mockery, part Bull Connor, part Buford T. Justice from “Smokey and the Bandit.” He is prime corrido material.

Arpaio puts the immigrants in jail
because he says that they are crooks
but they are only looking for a decent job …
And without any apparent sense or reason
he paraded them in chains down the street.

As Downes notes, “That is all true. The inmate parade happened in Phoenix on Feb. 4,” as we reported last month. What’s also true is that citizens from across the country stood strong in protest of Sheriff Arpaio’s heinous tactics — and their voices were heard. Downes reports, “Last week the Justice Department told the sheriff he was being investigated over accusations of racial profiling, and Congress members denounced his “reign of terror.”

The “Ballad of Joe Arpaio” is far from finished, but it appears that Justice may well be served for Sheriff Joe, and that’s surely something worth singing about.