By Illinois Review
On the IL GOP website under, “Who We Are,” it says,
“Our party welcomes individuals who share our common beliefs while having deeply held, yet differing views. Diversity brings strength. We commit to resolve our differences with civility, trust, and mutual respect.”
But during Saturday’s GOP state central committee meeting (SSC), these beliefs were thrown out the window as the GOP establishment belittled, humiliated, and even tried to silence many in the crowd of the more than 200 conservative grassroots activists who descended upon the Bolingbrook Golf Club so their voices could be heard.
Many of the grassroots activists drove hundreds of miles and more than six hours to attend the SSC meeting, including former US Senate candidate Peggy Hubbard, a conservative grassroots, minority black woman with a powerful voice who amassed more than 348,000 followers on her Facebook page.
Hubbard is a veteran, having served in the US Navy. She also served as a Court Officer for the Saint Louis County Police Department. In 2016, Hubbard’s husband – a police officer with the Saint Louis Police Department, was forced to retire after being shot twice in the line of duty.
However, after nearly two hours of long-winded speeches by the establishment, intended to bore and drive away the grassroots attendees, it was time for public comments where many had driven hundreds of miles to speak, including Hubbard.
But before the public comments, the rules were explained by GOP chairman Don Tracy.
“Speakers were only allowed 90 seconds to speak.”
“Speakers could waive their right to speak.”
“Speakers were not allowed to donate their time to another speaker.”
“if a speaker repeats what others have said, you will be cut off.”
In addition, several people appointed by Tracy, including a Sergeant at Arms who harassed attendees who just wanted their voices to be heard, gathered at the front of the room where speakers voiced their frustrations – sometimes surrounding them as a form of intimidation when their time was up.
In one instance, when Peggy Hubbard was speaking and her time was up, one of the gentlemen ripped the microphone away from her in front of over 200 stunned witnesses.
Hubbard continued to speak without a microphone, but Tracy had already called the next speaker, despite Hubbard requesting additional time to finish her speech.
Interestingly enough, Hubbard’s time was up once she started to rattle off the names of minority candidates this past election who did not receive support from the IL GOP.
A fact that clearly made Tracy very uncomfortable.
Less than an hour later, it did not go unnoticed by the grassroots in attendance that when Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, an establishment-backed and Jeanne Ives-endorsed candidate requested additional time to speak after his time was up, Tracy granted it.
Allowing Pekau to finish his thoughts – a privilege that wasn’t afforded to the grassroots-backed Hubbard just 30 minutes before.
IL GOP leaders even called the Bolingbrook Police to monitor the meeting. Throughout the day, many of the grassroots attendees chatted with the police officers, even taking selfies and thanking them for their service to the community.
It’s no wonder the IL GOP can’t win an election – they can’t even win over the grassroots – or allow them to finish their thoughts.