Our family was in Central Illinois while the lake was cresting and Crystal Lake Police were separating the McHenry County Peace Group from a minuteman group who was not sponsoring the private Holiday Inn meeting ordered canceled by a McHenry County Judge.
It wasn’t anything about Freedom of Speech.
That may be the law, but it’s not the perception.
Last year a more unpopular political cause—the advancement of acceptability of homosexuality—was given red carpet treatment by the Crystal Lake Park Board and City Council.
This year, those supporting enforcement of federal immigration laws were denied the opportunity to promote their cause, a cause, by the way, that is destined to become a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.
If you doubt this, try to explain the ouster of the left-wing French government without talking about the negative reaction to too much immigration.
The Illinois Minuteman Project wasn’t going to hold a demonstration.
It was going to hold a private meeting in a private location at which an Ohio sheriff was going to tell how he and his department had helped enforce immigration laws that Federal officials clearly cannot enforce on their own.
The difference is that the organizers of the Gay Games wanted to use Crystal Lake for free.
And, incredibly, they got permission.
Local citizens-taxpayers with motorboats were forbidden from using their expensive machines the way they were designed during the early part of the rowing regatta. (They were forbidden by local ordinance in the latter part– as they are every Sunday afternoon—a compromise more than a decade old between active and passive lake users.)
The skiff owners did not even have to buy boat stickers like Crystal Lake taxpayers must.
Oh, they paid for police protection from demonstrators who basically took a pass and probably did something with their families elsewhere on that splendid July day.
A couple of months later, Crystal Lake got $17,600, while Lakewood received $3,400. (The park district was smart enough to ask for and get advance payment.)
This was for an all-day event. And the Crystal Lake and other police were everywhere.
There was no threat of demonstrations from opponents on a state highway, as there was from the McHenry County Peace Group and others with a more pro-illegal immigration agenda.