Well, I guess there wasn’t really much doubt that the U.S. Congress is a joke, but now it’s official. Seriously, I know we like to complain about lots of things, including our dysfunctional and inane government, but this takes the cake.
Today, cable-television comedian Stephen Colbert testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Yes, that House, the United States House of Representatives, one of all of two parts of our bicameral legislature in this formerly great country of ours.
Stephen Colbert testified in a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on immigrant farm workers this morning (video here, not embeddable). The hearing got off to an awkward start when Democratic Rep. John Conyers asked the comedian to leave the hearing. Colbert responded, seemingly concerned, that he had only agreed to testify at the request of subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, who then asked him to stay.
At least Conyers obviously understood the travesty that was going on, though obviously far too late and ineffectively.
Here are some “highlights”:
- “The obvious answer [to the agricultural labor shortage] is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables. And if you look at the recent obesity statistics, you’ll see that many Americans have already started. Unfortunately, my gastroenterologist has informed me there is a need for roughage … Therefore, I am submitting the video of my colonoscopy to the congressional record.”
- “I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa, where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.”
-Not many Americans have taken Rodriguez up on his offer of farm work, but that may change soon “as I understand many Democrats may be looking for work come November.”
- “I’m not a fan of the government doing anything. But I’ve got to ask, why isn’t the government doing anything? … Like most members of Congress, I haven’t read the bill.”
During questioning, subcommittee members had some trouble navigating Colbert’s faux-serious turf. Conyers, who’d asked Colbert to leave at the beginning of the hearing, pointed out that Colbert’s spoken testimony differed significantly from his written one.
Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican, told Colbert that he would take his jab at congresspeople not reading bills as an implicit endorsement of GOP House members’ “Pledge to America,” which demands — among other things — a 72-hour window to give representatives time to read bills before voting on them. Colbert confirmed this assumption with his always straight face, saying, “I endorse all Republican policies without question.”
If you’re interested, here is Colbert’s written testimony. It’s all enough to make an Indian weep.