Many would like to believe that even the most guileful and nefarious of individuals are capable of compassion, particularly toward the weakest among us.
Sadly, human behavior argues otherwise. To rationalize away the sufferings of others is a fairly easy mental trick, and when the payoff for doing so is political power, pangs of conscience are like pinpricks, at best.
So I'd argue that if Sheriff Joe Arpaio or President Barack Obama had been around Phoenix's Cesar Chavez Plaza Friday afternoon for a rally of moms and kids sponsored by the local human rights group Puente, the sight would not have moved them to reconsider their respective policies toward the undocumented.
Democrats and lefties out there might argue that Obama is capable of more compassion than our almost-octogenarian sheriff. I'd disagree. If you judge simply by the amount of human suffering each man has caused, Obama's ill deeds far outweigh Sheriff Joe's.
After all, Arpaio cannot claim to have deported more than 1 million souls, like Obama. In fact, Arpaio hasn't deported anyone. He's turned many over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but ICE decides whether to cut those mothers, daughters, fathers, sons and grandparents loose, keep them in prison-like detention facilities, or give them a one-way ride to their countries of origin.
No doubt, Arpaio's policy decisions regarding the undocumented have been hurtful. His raids and sweeps targeting Hispanics have spread fear and inflamed nativist sentiment in this state.
And Sheriff Joe has no special sympathy for mothers or their offspring. One need only look to examples of shackled pregnant women in MCSO custody, or mothers with their arms or jaws broken by MCSO goons for supporting evidence of that statement.