President Trump asked the crowd last week at his Phoenix rally, "Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?" Had the hall been filled with an accurate cross section of Arpaio’s former constituents, the answer would have been a resounding “no.”
Nevertheless, Trump pardoned the ex-sheriff on Friday, though he had not been sentenced and had shown zero remorse for his crime.
America’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” was convicted of criminal contempt of court last month after refusing to obey court orders. This most recent legal battle involved numerous federal attempts to get Arpaio to stop racially profiling residents of Maricopa County.
I’m a proud member of Generation X, the oft-forgotten demographic between the utopian Baby Boomers and the self-adoring Millennials. Granted, not all the members of any generation fit their stereotype, but the culture spawned by these groups defines them in aggregate.
After the Greatest Generation survived the Great Depression and returned from a bloody world war, they sought a quiet sanctuary in suburbia, sparing their kids such pain. The Boomers decided that life was boring and inauthentic, and tried to replace it with a Summer of Love that would usher in the Age of Aquarius. That experiment didn’t go too well.
Gen X was sold the Boomers’ utopian dream throughout our youth, but never quite bought it. The culture of our childhood was infused with the wreckage wrought by hippies and yippies. Vietnam protests and the loss of that war. Drug addicts and dead rock stars. Kiddie shows that toggled between LSD trips to eco-apocalypse. We watched the failure of the War on Poverty, Nixon, Ford, and Carter. (Not to mention the hideous fashions.)
Outrage is the currency of modern America. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “An extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation.”
Every day, another statement, joke or action provokes anger, shock and indignation against the hapless offender.
A dentist hunts a lion in Africa. Outrage! A woman tweets a joke before boarding a plane bound for Africa. Outrage!! A white cisgendered male op-ed writer mentions Africa in three different outrage examples. OUTRAGE!!!
It’s exhausting just to read about the outrage, so it must be debilitating to those peddling it.
Someone flew a giant inflatable chicken with Trump hair next to the White House.
I’m not sure why someone flew a giant inflatable chicken with Trump hair next to the White House, but apparently it made an important political statement. Perhaps something about animal rights, vegetarianism, or the importance of free-range conditions. Or that Trump is chicken for not doing something that the balloon owners want him to do. Maybe a basic cable channel is premiering a show that has something to do with flying poultry.
Regardless, the picture was passed around social media by people thinking it was a “sick burn,” as the kids liked to say a decade ago. But, as with most silly protests, I was left with a simple question: Why?