Impeachment rallies held across suburbs as House vote nears
Downtown Arlington Heights was among several locations in the Chicago area and many more across the nation Tuesday evening to host rallies encouraging the House of Representatives to vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
At least 175 people were on the southwest corner of Arlington Heights Road and Northwest Highway during rush hour to wave signs and chant slogans encouraging impeachment.
The crowd received occasional honks of support from vehicles of all types, including one car that stayed in sync with a chant of "Lock him up!" But one semitrailer truck driver rolled down his window to wave dismissively at the rally and yelled "Trump!" with a thumbs-up gesture.
With many Democrats in the House saying the facts are on their side in the impeachment case and most Republicans claiming the entire inquiry to be a farce, local organizer Erika Burch of Mount Prospect addressed how she felt such an emotional rally fit into the public discourse.
"Protests are the number one way to create change, and protests work," Burch said. "When people going by see support, they know they're not alone."
Burch said she's a member of the political activist organization MoveOn.org and arranged the Arlington Heights rally in conjunction with it. According to its website, the group traces its roots to the lead-up to President Bill Clinton's impeachment 21 years ago, in which its founders submitted a petition to Congress to "Censure President Clinton and Move On to Pressing Issues Facing the Nation."
Myrna Frankel of Schaumburg, the deputy Democratic committeeman for Schaumburg Township, said she hopes any rally like the one in Arlington Heights would be the beginning and not the end of any passing person's research into the impeachment debate.
"I hope they drive by and then take the time to look it up and get the information," she said.
Just over 400 people had RSVP'd online for the Arlington Heights rally at Impeach.org. There were 193 who'd done so in nearby Mount Prospect, 869 in Naperville, 267 in Crystal Lake, 48 in St. Charles, 316 in Elmhurst, 368 in Glenview, 254 in Woodstock, 372 in Western Springs, 881 in Evanston, and 3,070 in Chicago's Federal Plaza.
Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider addressed the potential impeachment in an earlier statement criticizing its claim of legitimacy.
"I urge Democrats to avoid jumping off this cliff that will further divide our nation," Schneider said. "It's clear this has been a partisan witch hunt aiming to reverse the results of the 2016 election regardless of facts. Democrats have made a partisan mockery of impeachment's serious and grave nature. The people will have the final say in less than a year as it should be."
• Daily Herald staff writer Marni Pyke contributed to this report.