The wee wee bush
From The Charlotte Observer
epending on which Founding Father or long-ago Supreme Court justice you cite, the president of the United States has pardon power to provide mercy in case of an overly harsh criminal code; to provide justice to the wrongfully convicted; and to help the country heal after particularly brutal periods of unrest. Nowhere will you find it is supposed to be used to undermine the law and codify the mistreatment of a group of people based on their ethnicity.
Because it is nearly unquestioned, maybe no other presidential power reveals and relies upon the character of the person in White House as much. That’s why Donald Trump’s pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio is so disturbing and damaging.
Trump is far from the first president to issue a questionable pardon. Andrew Johnson pardoned every Confederate soldier. Bill Clinton pardoned his half-brother, who had been convicted on drug-related charges, and billionaire Mark Rich, who had been accused of tax evasion and fraud and had fled the country. George H.W. Bush pardoned a Pakistani drug dealer, as well as Caspar Weinberger, a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. Jimmy Carter commuted Patty Hearst’s prison sentence for a bank robbery conviction and Clinton fully pardoned her. (Clinton also pardoned NASCAR legend Rick Hendrick.) Barack Obama pardoned the still-unrepentant Oscar Lopez Rivera, who helped lead bombings in the 1970s that killed six in a fight for Puerto Rican independence.
Trump’s pardon of Arpaio stands out among them all because it is a direct rebuke to a federal judge who was preparing to sentence the ousted sheriff for ignoring federal orders to stop racially profiling Latinos in Arizona. He routinely had people arrested, without evidence, because he and his deputies suspected they might be undocumented, and housed them in detention centers that activists — and even Arpaio — compared to concentration camps. His pardon means he won’t serve a single day in prison, unlike Chelsea Manning, who served seven years behind bars for leaking documents, and comes during an already racially sensitive period in our country’s history. Trump did not wait the usual five years to pardon Arpaio, nor did he tell his Justice Department to conduct the kind of background investigation that is routine before most pardons are issued.
The Phoenix New Times detailed Arpaio’s disturbing history in a series of stories and tweets, including his unlawful arrests of reporters, his hiring of a private investigator to track a federal judge, his failure to investigate hundreds of child sexual abuse cases, and his stewardship of facilities that had an unusually high number of deaths.
Most tellingly, the pardon comes after Trump reportedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Arpaio case could be scuttled. It’s the second high-profile criminal case in which Trump might have tried to obstruct. The pardon, along with the Trump administration’s decision to scale back law enforcement oversight and Congress’s refusal to rein the president in, sends a clear message: that lawlessness, in service of well-connected men and to the detriment of already-vulnerable people, is quickly becoming the rule, not the exception. n the early days I was living in West Rome on Armstrong Street. There was a woman who lived down the street who always gave me the idea that that she was so much better than most folks. She drew a check from the government each month, so she was one of the few who had money.
I was a small boy at that time and even today can’t understand her dislike of me. I never told my mother about things she did and said to me. If I had told my mother, as the old saying goes, there would have been hell to pay.
One day I watched a man back a truck up into her yard. He unloaded some bushes. I can remember it as if it was yesterday instead of so long ago. I passed by going to the store for my mother and wondered about the bushes. On my way home she called out to me. I looked at her wondering what she wanted. This was the first time she ever called out to me. She pointed to me and said, “Adcock, come here.” She never called me by my first name, only my last. I hesitated, not understanding what was happening to make her call me. I stopped short of her yard. I had no intentions of going into her yard. “Yes,” I said, “did you want me?” “See those bushes?” pointing to them. “Yes ma’am,” I said. “I will give you two dollars if you will dig holes for those bushes. Do you think you can do that?” she asked. “Yes ma’am,” I said, “let me carry this stuff to my mother.”
I ran home as fast as I could. I told my mother what I was going to do. I didn’t tell her how much money she was going to pay me. My Father had passed away a few months prior to this and things were rough around our house. I knew that two dollars would buy a lot of groceries. I ran back so I could get to digging. She had waited for me and had placed a brick on the places where she wanted the holes dug. I want you to imagine a little skinny 11-yearold boy swinging a man-size pick. The dirt was rough, hard packed. I kept at it, and finally had the holes dug. I went up and knocked on her door. She came and looked out at me. “What,” she asked, “you don’t think you are through?”
“Yes all the holes are dug deep enough for you to place the bushes in.” I said. “Well, put them in the holes and plant them,” she slammed the door shut.
I walked back out to where the bushes were. I looked at my blistered hands. She had said dig the holes, nothing was said about me planting them. I knew that I would not get the two dollars if I didn’t. I had been almost all day digging the holes and now I was having to plant the bushes. Finally I got them planted and again knocked on her door. She came out and didn’t say anything as she looked at the bushes.
“Wait and I will get your money,” she said. It took a few minutes but she came back and handed me a dollar. I would not take it. I said, “You promised me two dollars.”
“You, Adcock, will take this dollar for this, it’s all you will get.” She turned and threw the dollar at me. I heard her slam the door and yell, “Adcock, you get out of my yard or I will call the police to you.”
I picked up the dollar in my bleeding hand and left her yard. There was a field across the road from her house. I stood up and went back across the street with the intent to pull the bushes out of the ground. Just as I entered the yard she came running though the door yelling at me.
“I want my dollar,” I said. “I am calling the police to you,” she yelled, running back into the house.
I went home knowing that it would do no good to get into trouble with her. I gave the dollar to my mother and began to doctor my hands. My mother questioned me to see if I had any problem with the woman. I let on that everything was okay. After supper I went out on the porch and fell asleep in the swing. My mother woke me up and told me to go to bed. I started around the house to the outhouse. That’s when the thought struck me. In those day there were no street light in the area. If you walked at night, you carried a light unless it was a moonlighted night. I turned and headed for the fresh planted bushes. I began to wee wee first around the root of the bushes and then on the leaves. I only had enough wee wee for two bushes. I hurried back home and got into bed. No one had seen me so I was safe. I was able to water the bushes regular. I kept watch on the two bushes that was watered with wee wee. The leaves began to turn yellow and to fall off. The two bushes that had not been watered with wee wee began to bloom. The wee wee bushes died and she had them dug up and replanted. For some odd reason those two also died. While we lived there she had those two bushes replaced several times.
I would see her after I got grown and went on the police department, and I couldn’t help but smile and say to myself “Do not water your bushes with wee wee.” LONIE ADCOCK Jim Powell of Young Harris
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