FOX LAKE – More than 60 people gathered near the gazebo at Millennium Park wearing pins and stickers that read “Take down Joe Walsh” in support for the Nuns on the Bus tour.
The Roman Catholic sisters are traveling to nine states to protest a Republican-proposed federal budget plan they said will hurt the poor. The nun’s tour is sponsored by Network, a Catholic social justice lobby group from Washington.
The bus arrived at 1:19 p.m. and after a couple minutes, four nuns emerged from the multi-colored luxury bus to a loud round of applause and cheering. Sister Simone Campbell led the crowd about one block to U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh’s office where the four nuns and the large crowd entered.
Walsh, R-McHenry, was not there, however, as he was in Washington, D.C., but district director David Carlin offered water and coffee to the crowd and lent his ear to what Campbell had to say.
“I know that congressman Walsh voted for the Ryan budget,” Campbell said. “The part that worries us about the budget is that it shifts money to the top. I know they say the wealthy make jobs, but it just isn’t happening.”
Campbell continued by referencing stories of people she met along the tour who would be negatively affected by the passage of the plan.
She said there are simple fixes that need to be made to the government.
“The difficulty is that the federal government continues to spend money and down the road won’t be able to provide for folks that really need it,” Carlin said before he was interrupted.
“In the richest country on Earth, in the richest country on Earth,” Campbell said loudly. “We have the capacity if we have the political will.”
The four sisters sat on stools at the office’s “coffee bar,” and continued a mostly one-sided conversation with Carlin for nearly 20 minutes.
They even presented the district director with their own proposed budget – the “faithful budget.”
Once the conversation ended, the nuns walked back to the gazebo and spoke behind a cherry-red podium about the Ryan budget. Two people in the crowd got behind the podium and told personal stories about how Medicare and the current programs have helped them.
They also supported the faithful budget.
The sisters say the faithful budget is a collaboration of Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.
The goal of this budget is to “protect the common good, values each individual and his or her livelihood, and helps lift the burden on the poor, rather than increasing it while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice.”
The sisters will end their tour in Washington, D.C. and hope to speak with representatives about their views, in hopes to make a difference.
“I truly do believe we are making a difference,” Campbell said. “The people have been very welcoming, and we just have to keep pushing.”