Allister Adel serves at the pleasure of the voters: Respect that

Guest Opinion//February 11, 2022

Allister Adel serves at the pleasure of the voters: Respect that

Guest Opinion//February 11, 2022

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel.

The witch-hunt brewing over ousting the duly elected Maricopa County Attorney, Allister Adel, is troubling. Yes, she admitted to a struggle with substance abuse. Yes, she went to rehab. Yes, she is doing a yeoman’s job of managing one of the nation’s busiest prosecutorial offices. And yes, her fate should be decided by the voters who elected her to lead with their sacred votes in a free and fair election. 

Jarrett Maupin

It is shameful to see the piling on occurring because Adel made the difficult but honorable decision to share with the public that she has an illness. Her transparency about seeking and completing treatment should not be weaponized against her administration. Neither should occasionally slurred speech or signs of fatigue be construed or reported as some sort of unofficial relapse. Lest we forget, Adel suffered a serious brain injury, from which she is remarkably recovering, in an unfortunate fall just a few months ago. How cruel, it seems, to create a damned if she does and damned is she does not political hot-seat for her to sit in over something none of us could control if we were to find ourselves in her medically sensitive shoes. 

In old Salem, women were put on trial by mobs of fanatics convinced of their practicing witchcraft. Often times, they were bound with rope and dropped in deep water. If they managed to float, they were deemed to be witches. If they drowned, they were innocent. In today’s society, most of us consider that period in American history to be cruel and entirely unjust. Are not the present mobs of fanatics calling for the same type of archaic trial for Allister Adel? It seems like it. Especially when the test over her fitness to hold office or proof of sobriety is based solely upon such superficial reports and observations, as have been raised.

In our fragile political state, do we really want to see a return to Salem style witch-hunts of our elected leaders? Is it healthy to entertain such ideas in a community as sharply divided along partisan and philosophical lines as Maricopa County? Is this what the voters want? Is this justice? No, definitively not. Allister Adel must be judged at the ballot box, the same as she was when she sought the office of Maricopa County Attorney. Anything less smacks of a coup or character assassination and honors not the serious checks and balances of a true democracy. 

The proponents of the purging of Allister Adel from power stand to gain much. Yet, their crusade against her is waged at the expense of the will of the people. This is wrong. The nature of politics can be a nasty business and Maricopa County residents have had more than enough experiences in the front row seats of high dramas and productions of intrigue. We should err on the side of the integrity and values of Allister Adel and safely assume they are still guiding her in office. For those things are what convinced the majority of us to deliver her to the position of critical and intimate influence she has now. We will be better, as a community,  for doing so and for rejecting cheap temptation to see her, unjustly, float or drown. Adel is no witch, rest assured.  

The Rev. Jarrett Barton Maupin, Jr. is a civil rights leader, Baptist minister, and Democrat from Phoenix. Twitter: @ReverendMaupin