I was rather fascinated by Steven Colbert’s testimony in front of a House committee today – talking about migrant workers.
Lets step aside from the politics for a second… I’ve never watched Colbert for more than a minute or two a few times a year on Youtube – I think he’s funny, but I don’t know much about him, his politics or anything else for that matter. He’s undoubtedly a very intelligent person, to be that satirical you have to be (take it from me, I know).
Obviously a lot of today was an attempt to bring publicity to an otherwise dull, boring and generally pointless hearing. He was invited by the chairwoman of the committee, together they apparently spent a day in the life of a immigrant field worker some time ago. I haven’t seen it but it was apparently featured on his show. Based on this, I think his knowledge of the subject was at least valid enough that this wasn’t 100% publicity (for congress). I also think the case can easily be made that he was the most intelligent and thoughtful mind in the room. (though will all the Congress members in the room, I realize the bar was set pretty low)
So again, I don’t know anything about him, but I was interested to see his testimony and the response, especially knowing that he was going to be ‘in character’.
Per usual, he submitted a written statement (which I have not read) I assume this was serious, he was given 5 minutes to verbally summarize his position. This 5 minute statement was all comedy. Well, all comedy if you weren’t paying attention. Much like any great satirical comedian, there was a lot of thought and intelligence to his statement. I’m sure you’ll see the talking points and soundbites from his visit but I want to look at one particular aspect of his comments.
He gave his testimony and answered questions all in basic character, he only broke form once. He was asked why he choose this, of all things, to be vocal about. He immediately dropped the act.
“I like talking about people that don’t have any power and it seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave.” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/24/stephen-colbert-appears-capitol-hill-hearing-illegal-immigrants/
Dropping the act, the look on his face and his response proved to me that he was serious about the issue and about being involved. I may or may not agree with all of his opinions about what needs to be done, but I respect him and the time and thought he has devoted to the issue.