The passion against health care reform has elevated to such a level that protesters on Tuesday mocked an apparent Parkinson's Disease victim, scorning him as a "communist" who is looking for "handouts."
Protesters on both ends of the health care debate squared off in competing rallies outside the Columbus, Ohio office of district Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), who says she is undecided on her vote for the bill.
A wrinkled, kneeling man holding a stick crawled up to a group opposing the effort with a sign saying he has "got Parkinson's" and needs help.
"If you're looking for a handout you're in the wrong end of town," one man yelled at him. "Nothing for free over here, you have to work for everything you get."
Parkinson's is an incurable and degenerative brain disorder that impairs the victim's speech, motor skills and various other functions.
Another man walked up and threw a dollar bill at him, saying derisively, "I'll pay for this guy, start a pot." Tossing another bill at the sedentary man, he screamed, "No more handouts!"
"You love a communist!" shouted another protester in response.
The Columbus Dispatch noted that "the congresswoman's offices in Washington and Columbus logged more than 1,500 calls on the issue Monday."
"Police on foot and bicycles kept a close eye on the crowd that stretched along Olentangy River Road. Several loud exchanges occurred as some protesters got in each other's faces, but no physical clashes were reported," the paper added.
The scenes were reminiscent of the heated town-hall protests across the nation last summer when supporters and opponents of health reform clashed.
This video is from Columbus Dispatch, broadcast March 16, 2010.