Chicago Alderman Refuses to Apologize For Speaking in Front of a Charred Flag

News & Politics

Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez spoke before an anti-Israel demonstration last Friday as protesters called for moving the Democratic National Convention from Chicago.

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Sigcho-Lopez condemned the Biden administration for “its failures to address the genocide in Gaza” and pursue immigration reform.

Just before the alderman’s speech. a veteran stood in front of the cameras and burned an American flag. 

The alderman issued a statement that wasn’t true.

“Contrary to false claims, videos and photographs clearly demonstrate that Alderman Sigcho Lopez arrived after an individual had burned an American flag earlier in the event,” the statement read in part. “At no point was his attention drawn to the flag, nor did he endorse or support such actions.”

No one ever said Sigcho-Lopez was there when the flag was burning. The complaint was by a group of aldermen who want Sigcho-Lopez to resign as chair of the powerful City Hall Housing and Real Estate Committee for ignoring the flag burning and siding with Hamas terrorists.

“Byron has the right to be inflammatory, but he has a bigger responsibility as a committee chair and member of the mayor’s leadership team,” 34th Ward Ald. Bill Conway, an active duty military member, said during the news conference. “This job isn’t about elevating people who want to burn everything down. It’s about bringing people together to build communities up.”

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In a statement about the incident, Sigcho-Lopez claimed he was exercising his First Amendment rights.

“Alderman Sigcho Lopez reaffirms his commitment to defending the First Amendment and the rights of all Americans to express their freedom of speech through peaceful protest. He will continue to advocate against the marginalization of immigrants, advocate for the well-being of children in Gaza, and demand dignified housing and healthcare for American veterans.”

Oh, really?

The news conference was briefly interrupted after Sigcho-Lopez’s office invited pro-Palestinian protesters to City Hall’s third floor on Wednesday to heckle his colleagues and the veterans.

Free speech for me and not for thee.

Mayor Brandon Johnson thinks censuring Sigcho-Lopez  would be “fascist.”

Chicago Tribune:

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Thursday delivered an impassioned defense of ally Ald. Bryon Sigcho-Lopez’s appearance last week in front of a scorched American flag and dismissed calls by other City Council members to have Sigcho-Lopez removed as head of a powerful council committee.

While saying he thinks other aldermen will stop short of censuring Sigcho-Lopez because it is a “fascist” form of expression, the mayor also took care to avoid weighing in on the progressive alderman’s criticism of President Joe Biden and agreement with protesters that the Democratic National Convention in Chicago should be canceled.

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Several aldermen who are veterans said elected officials should be held to a higher standard.

“We are not accusing him of violating any constitutional right, but we are saying is his conduct and speech are reprehensible to a point where he needs to account for his actions,”  Alderman Chris Taliaferro said.

“Instead of taking responsibility, doubles down and says ‘I’m being attacked,'” Alderman Gil Villegas said.

A powerful alderman and the mayor of a major American city have the perfect right to burn the American flag. The Supreme Court says they have that right.

But I think it’s despicable that they refuse to condemn the act.

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