Further “Finds” in the Video of T-People Acting Badly Toward an Old Guy Afflicted with Parkinson’s

teabaggersI send my thanks to Doral Chenoweth III, the camera guy from The Columbus Dispatch. His videoing of me at last month’s healthcare rally in Columbus helped to allow me to feel safe enough to risk sitting down in front of what felt like a boisterous bunch of T-people. Plus, it was his videoing of me for those 31 tumultuous seconds that—quite unexpectedly—brought my “15 minutes of fame”, which explains why you are reading this note over my name, instead of doing something else that would otherwise have seemed more worthwhile to you;) Thanks again, Mr. Chenoweth.

But we have more to thank Mr. Chenoweth for. To see it, however, requires “sweeping” the several virtual cutting-room floors where the various shortened versions of his 2:31 original were made. And to do that, we need to be precise about which cuttings had fallen onto those various floors. That, in turn, requires that we be more precise about what did not show up on that floor.

One way to “get a handle” on that would be to allow ourselves to tighten the focus of Mr. Chenoweth’s video to the same extent as did the editors of the various “shorts” floating around the Internet. Many of those editors chose—understandably, from my point of view—to tell the story as “Incivility run amok: T-people show Bob Letcher how they would have democracy work”. For that purpose, the story began at about the 0:51 mark and ran for those 31 seconds, ending at about 1:22 of Mr. Chenoweth’s “long version”. Thus, the “cuttings” that would have been there to be swept up if anyone thought to do so are the first 51 seconds and the last 69 seconds.

And that’s where I looked this week, more than a month after the actual event. Guess who I found at the front of the “bill killers”, only 9 seconds into the long version? Well, you can see for yourselves in this screengrab shown here.

Yep, he looks a lot like Mister “Cultivatedly Cold”: crisp white shirt, tie, wrap-around sunglasses, white-sidewall haircut, and pen-in-pocket, who was featured in the shorts. Only he looks like he’s out front, leading. Hardly the newbie follower he later portrayed himself as being. Hardly the person who later tried the “I snapped” defense. Makes me wonder… Exactly when did he “snap”? How many times did he “snap”? Did he “unsnap”, only to “re-snap” in time for the “short”?

With all that snapping and unsnapping and re-snapping going on, how could a person who was never quoted as saying either “I apologize,” or “I am sorry.”—and never said either directly to me, or to the millions of Americans whom his pure ugliness offended, or to the millions of people around the world who count on America as a symbol of relative decency in a sea of that same ugliness he exhibited—how could he even begin to claim to have been sincere in his apology? And wouldn’t an insincere apology be oxymoron?

letcherSeeing him out in front of the group early on, and seeing him later, during the “short”, pull an “AFP” sign from under his arm also makes me wonder again about whether his relationship with AFP might have been more than merely coincidental. And that makes me hesitant about accepting the disavowal issued subsequently by the AFP leader, claiming that there was no relationship between him and them. It also makes me wonder whether there might have been a hastily-convened conference call during the surprisingly long interim between the rally and AFP’s official disavowal, just to make sure that everyone involved knew which page they were talking from.

Does all of this make you wonder, too?

Robert A. Letcher, PhD

Robert A. Letcher, Ph.D describes himself as “an academic with a disability instead of a portfolio, a writer, and a Qigong practitioner who tries to help people learn”.

Published by the LA Progressive on May 3, 2010
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About Robert Letcher

Robert A. Letcher, Ph.D. is a political economist who describes himself as "an academic without portfolio, writer, political activist, and Qigong practitioner who tries to help people learn".