Tea Party needs to practice what it peaches

Last Friday, Tea Party members, joined by State Sen. Russell Pearce and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, held a rally at the state Capitol to hold legislators accountable.

I’m all for accountability – but Tea Party members and I disagree on whom to hold accountable.

Pearce, who was recently exposed for accepting tickets from BCS officials, is a prime example of a legislator constituents need to hold accountable. According to The New York Times, he traveled to Chicago in 2005 and Boston in 2008 courtesy of Fiesta Bowl officials.

Though Pearce has claimed that he has receipts for the trips, he has yet to disclose them.

He has also been in the spotlight recently for reintroducing legislation aimed to target illegal immigrants.

Yes, illegal immigration is an issue that needs to be addressed, but in a smart way. Pearce has repeatedly disregarded effective legislation and has instead sought to pass legislation that is flawed and fails to bring about comprehensive reform.

Last spring, Pearce oversaw the passage of SB 1070, the controversial legislation that allowed police officers to target minorities. This year, Pearce introduced legislation that forced schools and hospitals to check the citizenship of individuals and denied citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

The latter legislation failed, but Pearce refused to accept defeat. He ignored disapproval by top business leaders, fellow legislators and constituents, and tried to introduce the legislation again.

These actions have demonstrated Pearce’s questionable standards and his disregard for fellow Arizonan’s convictions. These actions show where accountability really needs to be demanded.

Accountability also needs to be demanded of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, another official esteemed by Tea Party patriots.

Arpaio is notorious for his immigration raids and inhumane treatment of prisoners. He has fed his inmates spoiled food, and subjects them to extreme temperatures in his Tent City, a facility that resembles a concentration camp. Arpaio also is responsible for reinstating chain gangs in Arizona.

As if that isn’t unacceptable enough, Arpaio has recently been accused of inappropriately spending $99 million.

According to The New York Times, Arpaio spent the money, which was allocated for two Arizona jails, to pay for other law enforcement operations.

Arpaio is another official who needs to be held accountable. He continues to treat prisoners sadistically and show disregard for the law by inappropriately using taxpayer money. And last, but certainly not least, let’s demand accountability of Tea Party protesters themselves.

At the rally last Friday, Tea Party participants spewed hateful and racist statements at other protestors.

A clip on Channel 12 News showed a Tea Party participant yelling at a protester. “The United States has a higher standard of living than Mexico because it’s populated by white people,” he said.

This statement is not only disrespectful and racist; it is also fallacious.

Actions by Pearce, Arpaio and Tea Party activists are abhorrent. These individuals demonstrate suspicious behavior, cruel management and a belief in racial supremacy.

Furthermore, their actions indicate that they have no regard for the law or moral decency.

Before pointing fingers, Tea Party activists should take a look in the mirror and find accountability within themselves and those they admire.

Reach Emilie accountable at eeeaton@asu.edu

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.