Stephen Colbert, the left of center comedian who is much enjoyed in his television role as a right wing political pundit, spoke to a Congressional Committee today. Â He was not welcomed by all the Committee members. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) was quoted as saying "I don't think he should be here. It commercializes the committee."
Colbert appeared before the Committee in order to PUBLICIZE the topic at hand: Â the role of immigrant labor in harvesting American agricultural produce. Â Colbert stuck to his goofy right wing persona, whining that he had actually gone to a field with a group of immigrant laborers recently (true) and was outraged to find that crops sometimes grow at ground level, requiring pickers to bend over. Bitterly, Colbert asked how we can put a man on the moon but not create bean field where the beans are conveniently waist-high. Â :) Â In essence, Colbert had two main points. 1. Â Those who complain that immigrant labor is stealing American agricultural jobs ignore the fact that Americans don't want the jobs. Â 2. Â There is a trend for agriculture to follow the cheap labor- in order to go where the pickers live, some farms are now being outsourced to Mexico and shut down north of the border.
Reviews are indeed mixed of Colbert's performance. Â His Shtick did not get many laughs from the Congressmen in attendance, from either Party. Neither did I see a great deal of deep thinking and wise commentary by the sectors of the media who are actually PAID to deal with public policy issues in the wake of his effort. I find this just a little bit disappointing. If we as a nation are unable to look at political commentary presented in a comedic fashion (something that Mark Twain pioneered, we might like to remember) and still actually GET it, then we are too stupid to live and should all roll over and die. Â If we would rather have a handful of polarized "experts" from political think tanks show up as witnesses at committee hearings, allowing public policy to originate out of public view because we do not need to trouble our simple little minds on it, then so be it. It's not consistent with the beliefs of those who founded our nation, but times change.