Illinois House Votes Against Supporting 'Occupy,' Suburban Rep Calls Protests 'Un-American'
The Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a resolution that would have expressed support for Occupy Wall Street protesters' "peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights."
The bill, filed earlier this month by State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago), was voted down by a margin of 37-58, according to an AP report. Fifteen legislators voted present. The lawmakers voting "nay" in the midst of the state's busy fall veto session in Springfield included both Democrats and Republicans.
Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. (R-Mundelein) called the Occupy protesters "un-American" and said he had read reports of demonstrators involved with the movement "raping and pillaging and beating people up and murdering," AP reports. He voted against the resolution.
"Do you recognize the violence, the crime at these protests?" Sullivan added, according to the Illinois Review's report. "If you don't believe in capitalism, then vote for this. I will not stand for it."
Rep. Roger Eddy (R-Huntsville) added that the resolution demonized corporate America, according to MyStateline.
Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the resolution, countered that Occupy protesters' "right to peacefully protest is what this country is about," according to the Illinois Review.
The resolution [HR 610] suggested that the state legislature "recognize the hardships experienced by the people of Illinois as a result of" economic hardships including the state's high rates of unemployment, foreclosure and poverty.
In a statement [PDF] previously announcing his filing of the resolution, Ford described the 'Occupy' movement as "a new sit-in movement" and "a statewide movement from all walks of life. ... There are young people and seniors, teachers and veterans, all protesting the economic crisis that continues to destroy families and weaken communities."
The arguments of the legislators speaking out against the resolution harken Tea Party-affiliated U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)'s criticism last week of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which he called a "well-orchestrated, well-funded, far left effort to disrupt the American people" during a town hall event in suburban Gurnee, Ill. Walsh went on to say that any veterans "who would advocate socialist solutions to certain problems in this country ... they don't understand this country."