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posted: 9/22/2012 5:00 AM

Walsh's behavior at parade objectionable

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This is in response to Kenneth Smith's Sept. 8 letter. I was a spectator at the Schaumburg Septemberfest parade along with my family and neighbors. Our view of the interaction between Congressman Joe Walsh and the spectators is totally different.

We are supporters of Tammy Duckworth and were wearing her T-shirts. Our group stood silently and watched as Joe Walsh and his supporters marched past us chanting "Freedom, freedom, it's all about freedom." When they saw our T-shirts, the congressman and many of his followers rushed over and started to shout angrily at us. I expressed my right of free speech by telling Walsh that he is anti-labor because he did not vote for the jobs bill that would have put people back to work. In response to my opinion, he turned to his group and shouted, "Boo this guy!" and pointed angrily at me and my neighbors. The atmosphere was one of anger and intimidation. One of his own supporters eventually had to grab him by the shoulders, turn him around and push him back into the parade.

Freedom of speech is a two-way street. They expressed their opinion and I expressed mine. I don't know what happened on the rest of the parade route, but I was not violent or physically intimidating to anyone. Those who march with Joe Walsh should be aware that his radical views and irresponsible comments are going to spark a difference of opinion. I feel that I cannot stand by and not express mine.

Mike Downey


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