WASHINGTON (Jun. 19)
Congressmen from both major parties will participate in a counter-demonstration to the American Nazi Party’s march in Skokie, Illinois next Sunday if the Nazis go through with their announced intentions to parade in the heavily Jewish populated Chicago suburb.
A letter circulated to the 435 members of the House by Reps. Hamilton Fish (R.NY), Christopher Dodd (D. Conn.) and Abner Mikva (D. Ill.) proposed that Congressmen participate to show “abhorrence for what Nazism represents.” Should the Nazi march appear to materialize, the Congressmen will meet at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Sunday morning and drive to Skokie, about 30 minutes away. Rep. Fish, who conceived the idea for Congressional participation, sought the support of Mikva, whose Congressional district embraces Skokie. They invited Dodd too for a bipartisan unit and urged other colleagues to join them. The letter’s circulation began June 15.
“We feel as part of the counter-rally,” their letter said, “Congress should be represented. Our plan is for members to march as a group, identifiable as Congressmen. While we recognize the scope of the exercise of First Amendment rights, we feel equally obliged to protest this despicable undertaking and to show our abhorrence for what Nazism represents. Therefore, we propose that members wear armbands with the Star of David.”
In an analysis, published in the Congressional Record at the instance of Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D. Mass.) of the “many different issues and choices at stake in Skokie,” Mikva concluded that the Nazi march be used as an “occasion to reaffirm not only what we Americans oppose but what we stand for–to recall to anyone who has forgotten not only the evil and madness of Nazism but also the positive ideals and values we want to preserve for our children and grandchildren.”