“That was my first time at any political rally and I’m never going to another one.”
Catherine Candisky of The Columbus Dispatch reports that Chris Reichert is apologizing for his part in an ugly confrontation at a recent anti-health care reform protest.
As addressed in a previous post, several people verbally abused and tried to intimidate a man with Parkinson’s disease. (You can read the post and watch the video HERE.) Mr. Reichert is the one who threw money at the seated man. Now he regrets “snapping,” says he hasn’t slept since that day, and has made a donation to a Parkinson’s disease group. The incident was just one of many recent displays of intolerance and bullying happening under the guise of protesting health care reform legislation.
According to Ms. Candisky’s article, Mr. Reichert has become fearful for his family after reading comments about his actions online. The finger is now pointed at him and he has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. Although he is a Republican, he says he has not been politically active and was invited by a neighbor to attend.
His apology and attempts to make amends may be a sincere reaction to his own shameful behavior, or it may be that because he is on the receiving end of the anger, he is trying to cover his butt out of fear for himself and his family. Maybe it is a combination of both. Whatever the case may be, it serves to give us all pause.
Carefully crafted language meant to ramp up fear and frenzied response escalated the health care reform conversation to racial and homophobic slurs to death threats. Subtle and not-so-subtle calls to arms. Hints at the violence to come. And it is contagious.
Mr. Reichert must now live with the regret, his actions captured forever on film, encapsulating the craziness of our time. This is where we need to shine the spotlight. After the protests, after the crowds dissipate, we still have to live with ourselves.
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