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article imageOp-Ed: Man with Parkinson's is confronted by health care protesters

By Samantha A. Torrence     Mar 17, 2010 in Politics
A sad scene played out in Columbus Ohio at a rally for Health care. People opposed and in favor of nationalize health insurance clashed over a man with Parkinson's who attended the protest.
Senator Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) was confronted Tuesday with a battling banjos protest at her Columbus office. While covering the protest, the Columbus Dispatch filmed a heartbreaking scene between anti nationalized health insurance protesters and a man who claimed to have Parkinson's. The unidentified man crossed the paved driveway that separated the two groups to sit in front of the opposition crowd with a sign that reads " Got Parkinson's? I do and you might. Thanks for helping..."
(see attached video at 0:52)
That is when the heartbreaking scene surfaced. The man, quite thin with a slight nod to his head was relatively quiet while being berated by protesters. "If you are looking for a hand out you are in the wrong end of town. Nothing for free over here you have to work for everything you get." Said one anti-health care protester. "No no," said another," I'll pay for this guy here you go." He then proceeded to throw money at the sitting man who simply responded with "I don't want a hand out." Then finally the the crux of the matter came to light as the same person who threw the money said, " I'll decided when I give you money. No more handouts!"
Anyone watching this will feel a certain aversion to how the man with Parkinson's's was treated, but there is a deeper issue here than what is being debated. What caused all the anger? Why did the man sit in front of them with his sign? The answers to those questions will reveal more about the current climate in America than one may expect.
Shamed into Callousness?
Shame is one of the most powerful tools in the human arsenal. It is an social antibiotic to many a dimwitted act or immoral stance. Shame is one of the ways we keep one another functioning within the fabric of society. But like any antibiotic, when over used it will lose its effectiveness. It seems that is what is happening in America. People have been browbeat with manufactured shame. In this instance the protester with Parkinson's was perceived to be attempting to shame the other side by inadvertently accusing them of not wanting him to have treatment. This tactic has been used by the ultra religious, the ultra secular, the ultra liberal, the ultra conservative, and everyone in between. It has been used so much and so often that people are beginning to become callous. Years ago I warned people, if you keep strumming on people's heart strings eventually they are going to break.
The tactics which employ shame are not uncalculated, but many times they are so ingrained in us we do not understand our calculation. Since the rise of the radicals in the 60's Americans have been conditioned to use shame as one of the many ways to procure what we want. One of the major influences of our current culture of manipulation is Saul Alinsky. No matter what side of the political spectrum you belong to, you most like use many of his tactics. In the case of the man with the sign, the tactic was hypocrisy and ridicule.
Alinsky writes:
"The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
Was this the action of the man with Parkinson's? Whether or not it was his intent that is exactly how it was perceived. Take a look at afew comments on the blogs and YouTube pages that host the embedded video.
This won't be online long.These folks hate it when a mirror is held up against their towering evil and hooliganism. These are not my idea of Americans. Shameful! They have no idea what that man's circumstances, yet they attack and accuse him publicly? They are a lynch mob. Shame! Shame! Shame!
Reply | Spam Love the "tough guy" tossing bills in his face. Real piece of shit human being that probably calls himself a christian. Hope to see you in public soon one day =), am gonna introduce you to the health care system up close and personal.
It is not like the right or even Christan's have not used shame to their advantage many times as well, but Americans should look where it led. For years gays were bullied by shame for their seemingly immoral sexual preference. They were berated and brow beat for years. Now look at the gay movement, do they exhibit shame? No, many times it is quite the opposite. They have come out swinging. Gays have been accused of being confrontational, loud, boisterous, and even down right mean. Could these same adjectives be applied to the two anti-health care protesters in the video?
America is boiling over with seething hatred for those who are constantly attacking. In the 50's the right with its McCarthyism had the voice and the vitriol, and in the 60's we saw the political spectrum begin to flip in favor of the left and truly come into power in the 1970's Each flip has been a result of deep attacks and a constant pressure being kept on the target ideology. Alinsky would be proud with the results even if they were a bit unexpected, because he predicted it perfectly with his eight rule: Keep the Pressure On.
Keeping the pressure on is exactly what the perceived left has done in this country. It got Barack Obama elected and contributed to the weakening of the conservative movement. But perhaps they took it a bit too far and dragged it on for a bit too long. They did not heed the warnings of the greatest community organizer since Satan.
The seventh rule is : A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Alinsky warns that a tactic which drags on too long can become nothing more than a ritualistic commitment like going to church on Sunday. "Well, my heart bleeds for those people and I am all for the boycott, but after all there are other important things in life."
So what happens when people are pushed and then become tired of it... they break through. Alinsky saw this as well. He highlights in rule 11 that a negative that is pushed hard will break through to its counter side. It is a simple law of the universe; Ying and Yang, positive and negative, action and reaction. In other words balance. Whether we want it or not, nature will foist it upon us.
It is my conclusion that instead of seeing the point of the angry protesters throwing money at the disabled man, the radical left would rather "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Instead of seeing that these men want to have a choice in who they help with their hard earned money, they are accused of hoarding money and not wanting to help others. Instead of seeing that the men do not want the government in control of the personal health care decisions of others, the left sees them as wanting people to die. So they shame, instead of understand, and it gets them no where. The left asks why these men have no compassion, and they are asking why their compassion is being taken advantage of?
In reverse these men seem to have lost compassion for the man sitting in front of them. He is a man in desperation. He most likely cannot afford his treatments. He has no where to turn and just wants some help. He feels weak, down trodden and beat. He is pleading with all of us to have heart and help him.
Now there are calls from people for reasoned debate. Really? Where were the calls before the silent middle America finally became vocal? How do you expect people to have a reasonable debate with you when it always goes back to pulling out the hypocrisy, race, and shame card?
Will the political climate in America change? Or will the left continue to accuse the right of hoarding money and hating the poor, and will the right continue to accuse the left of stealing their money and giving it to those who will not stand up and help themselves?
Not any time soon.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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