Partisanship gave way to patriotism when elected officials and political candidates gathered on the Fourth of July at various local parades.
, Rep), as well as candidates for Congress and local members of the Illinois General Assembly discussed how Independence Day unites Americans, even in difficult economic times, as they prepared to march Monday.
“It’s very important for people to feel up this year,” Kirk said at the Northbrook Fourth of July parade, where he went after marching in Oak Lawn and Downers Grove. “It’s a good opportunity to show patriotism when we need it."
Hanging onto the American Dream
Schakowsky, who walked in Des Plaines and Skokie Monday, saw a firsthand example of American optimism while nearing the end of the Evanston parade.
“A couple came up to me at the end of the parade who said they were having trouble keeping their home,” Schakowsky said. “They told me ‘We’re going to keep going, we’re going to keep the faith.’ People have doubts but they’re celebrating America. They’re hanging onto the American dream.”
said the Fourth of July was a time to help the community come together.
“If you look at class history during a down economy, people have been known to turn against each other,” Biss said at Skokie’s parade. “We have to do all we can to help people come together as a community.”
Dold sees celebration of American independence as a time partisanship can be shelved for patriotism, regardless of economic times.
“Celebrating our country’s independence helps us all come together on a good day for everyone,” Dold said, sporting what he called a “tarmac tan” just before his fifth parade of the day at Northbrook. “Everyone came out on a good day.”
Getting out there
Deerfield management consultant , a candidate for the Democratic nomination to oppose Dold’s for the 10th Congressional seat, has learned the economic difficulties people face as he meets more and more of them.
“I spoke to a couple in Glenview where the husband had been out of work for two years," Schneider said. "Unless you get out there you don’t have an idea."
He thinks embracing those around you by celebrating the Fourth of July is part of the cure.
“People have to work as community to help one another."
, a community organizer from Waukegan and another candidate for the Democratic nomination, walked in Highland Park and Deerfield Monday. He echoed Schneider's sentiment.
“This is a time for the community to celebrate America,” Sheyman said.
saw the Fourth of July as a catharsis for people struggling with a tough economy.
“People seemed happy to be out here,” Garrett said at Northbrook, her last parade of the day. “They seemed able to put away all their troubles.”
tate Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park) said that walking through five parades allowed her to hear what's on her constituents' minds.
“It’s a great day for five parades,” May said at Northbrook after walking in Lake Bluff, Highland Park, Deerfield and Glencoe. “People were having a great time.”
was happy to celebrate the holiday at home.
“This is a great day for our country and I’m glad to be here in my hometown of Northbrook,” said Nekritz, who entertained the crowd with cartwheels along the parade route.
) walked with supporters in the Skokie and Morton Grove parades. He was pleased with the outing.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Lang said at Skokie. “We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Supporters at hand
Sam Mendelson of Deerfield followed Schneider through all three parades. The American University freshman was in sixth grade when Schneider was his baseball coach.
“I wasn’t very good, but when I got my first hit he emailed my dad,” Mendelson recalled.
Charlene Foss, president of the Republican Women of Park Ridge, first got to know Dold when they went to law school together.
“He represents my values," Foss said, "I want to walk for him any chance I get.”
It was Dold's first parade as a member of Congress and Kirk's first Fourth of July as a United States Senator. Kirk was quick to point out how his role has changed with his expanded constituency.
"We were in Oak Lawn and Downers Grove. Later this month we will be at the Arcola Broom Corn Parade," Kirk said. "I mention this because it shows the diversity of Illinois.”
Stay tuned for more photos and video of local elected officials at Independence Day parades.