On what basis can you justify mocking the ill or disabled? Someone please tell me because I really want to know.
Earlier this week, The Columbus Dispatch captured anti-reform protesters — bullies, really — on film mocking a health care reform advocate with Parkinson’s disease.
The man sat on the ground alone, peacefully holding a sign, and was surrounded by men leaning in toward him and throwing money at him. “Communist!” they called him. “You have to work for everything you get!”
If he was intimidated, he didn’t let it show. Here is the video:
It reminded me of an incident last summer, when a woman in a wheelchair was shouted down at a town hall meeting. She, too, maintained her composure in the face of relentless bullying, determined to tell her story. Even as she spoke, the hecklers never let up. “Please hear this voice of the disabled,” she pleaded to deaf ears.
Earlier this week, blogger Tracy Viselli wrote about attacks on an 11 year-old who is determined to finish his late mother’s fight for health care reform. His pain and suffering, and that of his family, is evident. That didn’t stop anti-reformers from publicly attacking the boy and questioning his motives. (There is a link to Tracy’s post at the bottom of this page.)
These brave souls, and many more like them, have stood firm in the face of relentless intimidation, and for that they deserve our respect.
Even if you are against the very idea of health care reform legislation, how can this behavior be rationalized? It betrays common decency. What makes it even more bizarre is that the bullies in question have no qualms about showing off their cruelty in full view of cameras, for all the world to see. They are proud of their actions.
What can these people be thinking? That illness and disability only happen to “those” people? That they are somehow immune from illness, accidents, or job loss? That “those” people have somehow brought it upon themselves? That they are lazy… they don’t work… they don’t deserve… they are less than…
Disagree on politics or public policy? Sure, but this behavior is not acceptable. Period. These disgraceful public displays of intimidation, rudeness, and downright bullying are indefensible and an embarrassment to all decent people.
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