The above film clip and the following print excerpt come to us from Talking Points Memo under the headline Man With Parkinson's Who Was Berated By Tea Partiers: 'I Embody The Controversy'
She who does not watch television nor many videos (apart from the past 24 hours) beseeches you to take time to watch the video and read the TPM text.. The clip is part of a longer video filmed earlier in the week by the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch.
Be forewarned that it is intensely disturbing. Not because of physical violence and bloodshed, but rather because it illustrates the depth, breadth and intensity of the great American divide.
I watched the clip several times in horrified silence. I continue to be totally gobsmacked that this is who we are becoming, have become. That there are those among us who think and behave this way.
And my challenge to you, dear reader, is to offer up a viable, legal solution. Because my tiny mind just went tilt and I’m fresh out of ideas.
Now the TPM text:
Justin Elliott | Talking Points Memo | March 19, 2010, 4:43PM
The man with Parkinson's who sat down in front of a group of anti-health reform rally in Ohio this week…tells TPM in a phone interview that he was aiming to present his own body as a powerful symbol of the debate.
…Bob Letcher, 60, tells (TPM in a phone interview). "No one was engaging, everyone was screaming. I thought, I don't have to scream, I just have to be there. I walked over and sat down...I sort of presented myself as an argument by myself." (snip)
…Letcher (a former college teacher) made his way over to the anti-health care crowd bearing a homemade sign asking, "Got Parkinson's?" I Do and You Might. Thanks for helping! That's community!" (snip)
…He says he was not upset when an unidentified protester screamed at him, "If you're looking for a handout, you're in the wrong end of town. Nothing for free over here, you have to work for everything you get."….A second protester then came up to Letcher. "No, no, I'll pay for this guy. Here you go, start a pot. I'll pay for you," he says, as he places a dollar bill in Letcher's lap.
"I'll decide when to give you money," the man screams, throwing another bill at Letcher.
…Letcher tells us the man…”was cultivatedly angry.”
Near as I can tell, based on very little data, Bob Letcher is a calm, educated, articulate man and an astute observer of the human condition. He placed himself in harm’s way, hoping someone might engage him respectfully, might listen to him.
His was a kind of latter day Gandhi presence amidst the furious frothing of some very scary folks.