I watched Stephen Colbert’s opening statement today on Capitol Hill and it was, as usual, very funny. In my opinion the man is a genius at satire. He skewered all the hypocrites in both parties and in the media without fear or favor (as usual) while standing beside and standing up for the lowly migrant farmworkers. Farmworkers are people who are nearly powerless in our country because they have no legal rights. They and those who came before them have been exploited mercilessly, brutally treated, grossly underpaid and ultimately physically broken by the extreme working conditions that are part and parcel of harvesting our vegetable and fruit crops.
What struck me about the videos I viewed was how similar it was to the gut splitting performance Colbert put on back during the Bush reign at the White House Correspndents Dinner. On that historic night Colbert exposed for all the world to see just what kind of lying, hypocritical jerks the elite government and media in this country really are. And while everyone outside of the DC "in" crowd was laughing hysterically, the members of that crowd were not amused by Colbert’s performance. Not one bit. And after the performance which instantly became an extraordinary hit on youtube the haughty members of the Washington elite sniffed and looked down their noses at what Colbert had done (expose them for what they are). In on camera interviews they were quoted as thinking his performance was in bad taste and criticizing Colbert saying they didn’t think he was funny. Well of course they didn’t! They were the butt of all his jokes!
This evening I watched the NBC Nightly News and found the same crowd, particularly as represented by Brian Williams and reporter Savannah Guthrie dispalying once again how completely out of touch they are with reality and how full they are of themselves. Colbert’s biting satirical approach did more to advance the cause of the oppressed and powerless farmworkers than Congress has done in 30 years! Yet in all their self absorbed seriousness we saw members of the Committee sitting stonefaced unable to laugh at what was a very, very funny presentation and that doesn’t even include the humorless Republicans who, despite their stunning ignorance, had sensed that many of Colbert’s jokes were being made at their expense.
It was especially sad though, to see Williams and Guthrie adopt the school marmish disapproval and finger wagging posture that they did which was not only off the mark, but frankly far more inappropriate than anything Colbert might have said or done. Williams and Guthrie gave full throated voice to official Washington’s objections to having someone with actual integrity pull back the curtain and expose them all for the ineffective, incompetent blowhards that almost all of them are. Even the highly esteemed John Conyers was apparently so Washingtonized in his thinking that he actually requested that Colbert refrain from making his statement. Thankfully, Colbert not only handlded it with grace and aplomb but carried on at the request of the Chairperson who had invited him and he made that point explicit.
Obama was right about one thing back in 08 and that is that our system of politics is broken. With every incident like this or the disgraceful performance of the Congressional Democrats on the tax cut earlier in the week or a thousand other instances I could cite, the fact that the nation needs to clean house completely of all those who comprise the ruling cliques at the top of our political, economic, and media elite becomes more and more self evident.
Here is the report I saw on NBC. Judge for yourself whether Colbert or our elites are the ones who don’t understand or respect the gravity of the plight of the migrant farmworkers and the seriousness of the nation’s business Congress is supposed to be doing.