Parkinson’s Sufferer Harassed By Tea Partiers: “I Embody The Controversy”
Bob Letcher, the man with Parkinson’s who was called a “communist” by tea partiers outside Ohio Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy’s office, spoke with Talking Points Memo, saying he presented himself at the rally as a symbol of the debate.
“I feel I embody the controversy that was being fought out,” Bob Letcher, 60, tells us. “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.”
Letcher 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!”
Letcher says he has been on disability since 2005. His last job was teaching science and technology policy at Ohio State. He had brain surgery in 2006, paid for by Medicare and by a charitable contribution from the Cleveland Clinic, he says.
“I feel really responsible — the most important thing to me is thanking everyone who made that surgery possible.”
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.”
In a scene captured by the Columbus Dispatch that went viral online, 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.
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