Stephen Colbert, the conservative comedic news commentary guy from the Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report made a mockery of the United States Congress. During contrived testimony before a House immigration subcommittee most people never knew existed, Colbert departed from his prepared statement and delivered an ill-written script.
The insult is two-fold; while the machinations of government will have its lighter moments, this was not one. It was a setup for an act that wasn’t funny, but perhaps the public outrage will serve to refocus our elected officials on actually governing.
Like the jester’s duty in the royal courts of yore, the United States Congress was played the fool for its own conceit. The shame is the Congress’s for straying so far from their sworn duty. It is time for Congress to hear the words of humility a slave in the Roman chariot once whispered in the ear of the triumphal generals.
Americans do not take well to this double insult, nor are we unaware of the deficient quality of government in Washington, D.C. Arguably, the Democratic Party is running scared over the outcome of the interim and 2012 elections, but it is the GOP leadership that needs to acknowledge it too is in the path of political upheaval that could sweep away the foundations of both political parties.
“I think that he mocked the hearing process,” said Rep. Steve King, R-IA, and ranking Republican in the House. “I don’t think you can take anything he testified seriously,”
How very astute of the honorable Rep. King. Many Americans already believe we cannot take much of anything the members of the House testify to either.
Colbert’s performance was as insulting to the United States as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations the previous day. The U.S. delegation, joined by other nation’s delegates, had the sense to get up and walk out, rightly demonstrating contempt for buffoonish displays.
A real leader would have had the gumption to stand up, denounce this farce and call for a motion of contempt of Congress against Colbert—at the very least ordered the Sergeant At Arms to remove the smartass from the chamber. Sadly, leadership is lacking in the House.
Immigration and a host of other issues the House, Senate and the President should be addressing are not a joke to the majority of Americans. We don’t watch The Colbert Report because he is not funny, and neither is the business of the federal government.
This disappointing episode should be the last straw for our current crop of elected federal office holders—either get to work and govern, or get out of government.