Monday, April 4, 2011

Breaking News: I won't have Joe Sweeney to kick around anymore

Literally the very moment I was driving to Phoenix to catch a flight back home after a wonderful stay in the Old Pueblo, Joe Sweeney, the perennial old crank, one-issue candidate for office in Tucson, died! That issue: illegal immigration. (Joe was very much against it.)

Joe's message and politics were utterly repellent: anti-immigrant, anti-gay, racist, and bitter--he was a sort of one man tea-party, where absolutely no one was invited. What impressed me about Sweeney--and it's not a kind thing to say--was that he just may have been as physically ugly as his political convictions.

In all of his campaigns for the House, there were two constants: anti-immigration vitriol and this ridiculous picture.

Joe Sweeney: "This country: an ideology worth repeating!"*

I knew nothing of his politics the first time I saw the poster emblazoned with this image, but I soon saw it everywhere I went, and it became a constant nagging presence on my daily commute during campaign seasons. After a couple of even numbered years, one of my friends gave me his business card, which carried the same photo. I even acquired one of Sweeney's campaign signs, which I kept where no one would ever see it.

Over the years since I left Arizona, Sweeney's fortunes soared. He renewed his campaigned every election cycle, hosted a public access call in show, and by the 2000s, despite his 3rd party affiliations, explicit racism, and belief in UFOs, he was being taken seriously as a republican candidate, winning GOP nomination in 2006, but losing the election.

So goodbye, Joe. I hope your immigration to the other side was legal and abrupt.

AZ Daily Star news item

Tucson Weekly RIP Joe Sweeney

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