Colbert creates laughs

Congress recently had a very unusual, yet well-known speaker.

Comedian Stephen Colbert gave a testimony on migrant labor issues during a hearing of Congress referred to as “Protecting America’s Harvest” Sept. 24. The hearing was for the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, according to the Huffington Post.

Colbert testified with United Farm Worker’s president Arturo Rodriguez at his side. Colbert’s testimony was based on his experience with UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which urged Americans to take the job of farm laborers for a day, according to CBS News.

While Colbert’s presence in Congress certainly made a splash, feedback on Comedy Central’s mock-conservative was mixed. While Colbert appeared to display a genuine concern for migrant labor issues, his expertise and appropriateness was questionable.

Colbert’s experience came from  one day working on a farm picking vegetables. He gave no insight other than the difficulty of the job.

While the difficulty of the job is not to be taken for granted, and few people voluntarily  work all day, every day in a field, Colbert said horrid jobs mean immigrants invariably have no rights.

What Colbert fails to recognize is that illegal immigrants do not have any rights, as indicated by the label “illegal.” In fact, illegal immigrants pawn off the society that generations worked so hard to build, and take away the rights of America’s legal citizens.

On the other hand, legal immigrants are welcome to live and prosper in America. Immigrants who enter and live in a lawfully way can only add to the prosperity of America by making worthwhile contributions.

Furthermore, Colbert’s presence in Congress was inappropriate. Humor is positive, even in Congress, but Colbert took too many distasteful liberties by referring to a colonoscopy of his, as well as the need for roughage in his diet.
Perhaps the concept is old-fashion, but in today’s increasingly profane culture, propriety must be preserved.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that it is “great” a celebrity like Colbert “can bring attention to an important issue like immigration,” according to the Washington Post. If bringing attention to an issue takes a comedian in Congress talking about his personal dietary need for roughage, then our country is in intellectual danger. Far more valuable minds had been put to work on this issue, and probably could have made more progress before Congress than Colbert.

Member of the immigration subcommittee Congressman Jason Chaffetz  (R-Utah) lamented his hard work being passed over for Colbert’s five-minute comedy session.

“It’s just unfortunate I’ve sponsored close to a dozen bills that deal seriously with immigration,” Chaffetz said, according to CBS News,  “and none of them have been brought up for discussion. None.”

However, America is in an age fascinated with the fame and glamour of celebrities. Hopefully, Colbert’s Congressional appearance is not a precursor to a trend of celebrity accountability within the government.

Colbert’s testimony is protected by the First Amendment. He is free to speak his opinion in court, on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” or any other medium of his choice. However, Congress would do well to seek wiser counsel from more informed and dedicated sources, and to leave the laughs to television.

SHOFFNER is an opinion writer.

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