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Tonight we went to the League of Women Voters Candidate’s Forum at Grayslake Central High School (Illinois). The auditorium was packed and people had to have tickets to get in. Tickets were limited to 400. We arrived about 20 minutes before tickets were due to be handed out and when we got there the line went around the side of the building.
A bit later someone came by with tickets and handed them out to people in line. Shortly after that the line started moving and we were able to go inside. It took a while for all the people to get into the auditorium and be seated. Once that happened candidates for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District Melissa Bean (incumbent D) and Bill Scheurer (Green) came onstage. There was a smattering of applause. Then Joe Walsh (R) walked out and the crowd went wild.
Students from Grayslake Central High School’s AP Government class planned and sponsored the debate. They served as timers and questioners, ushers and ticket takers. I commend the students and their teachers for a well run program.
The woman from the League of Women Voters moderated and before the debate got underway she told us the rules. No cameras, no talking, questions will be written down on index cards and a student will take the card to the teachers who will vet the cards for relevance, tone, and appropriateness. Then the question might be read out by one of the questioner’s on stage. Just before the start, someone in the audience asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be said (there was a flag on stage). The woman from the LWV said no. It wasn’t something that was done. Some members of the audience then stood and started saying the Pledge. Pretty much the rest of the audience then rose and said the Pledge as well.
The woman from the LWV was upset. She said that the audience had disrespected her. She said she was “forced” to say the Pledge and that it had “obviously been planned”. As if we all decided in line to say the Pledge of Allegiance anyway if refused. I hadn’t even thought that the Pledge might not be said. This was a political candidate’s forum and the three candidates on stage were hoping to be elected to represent us in the Federal Government.
Below, I am pasting a very interesting comment that you can also read below:
My name is Joe Ptak and I live in Island Lake, Illinois. I attended the Joe Walsh-Melissa Bean “forum” and I WAS THE INDIVIDUAL who stood up and wanted to know why the pledge of allegiance was not going to be recited…I thought it might have been an oversight. I was flabbergasted and stunned to hear the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS moderator say to me, and the audience, that it was never part of their program at these events and will not allowed.
Please keep in mind that this “forum” was organized in Grayslake High School for the benefit of the students, who were asking the questions. Furthermore, there were numerous students present (gaining extra credit) as well as 350 adults and media who packed the auditorium.
I served in the USAFR’s for ten (10) years and there were many veterans in attendance. I was so proud when the audience rose up one by one, then in mass to recite the pledge of allegiance with loud and heavy emphasis on the words LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. The moderator then had the gall to admonish the audience and for “disrespecting her”…my wife told me if that woman did not shut up she was going to get her “Brooklyn up” (being from NY).
I happen to be an Hispanic immigrant from Peru, South America, who was brought to this great country by my parents, along with three other siblings in 1960, when I was eight years old. I was raised in Chicago, have seen, and experienced a lot in this world. People are literary dying each day for just the OPPORTUNITY to live in this great land I call my home.
There are ignorant people in this land who do not have the slightest idea, nor understand, what it means to be an AMERICAN. Our Liberty, Freedom of Speech and the Press are never guaranteed and we must always fight to maintain them. I think our students in attendance witnessed that first hand and gained a lot of extra credit for themselves.