Colbert Testifies for Farm Workers

Sister Ann Kendrick, migrant farmer advocate
September 25, 2010

Maybe humor is what is needed in the U.S. Congress to get a point across. Today a large number of Congressional members are so extremely politically polarized that they cannot put the best interests of our country or its citizens before their own self-serving interests.  They stubbornly cling to their positions to push their own agendas supported by lobbyists, special interest groups, and anyone else that they think will help them get re-elected. Perhaps a little humor sprinkled with satire could make these obstructionists see the light?

Still, when I heard that comedian Stephen Colbert was invited to testify Friday before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law at the hearing entitled “Protecting America’s Harvest,” I questioned the logic of this move. Why is a celebrity invited to testify on this issue when there are many other citizens who have a deeper understanding and have devoted decades of their lives to serving the migrant farmers? My friend, Sister Ann Kendrick from the Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka, Florida came to mind. For decades, this amazing lady worked side-by-side with the migrant farm workers and their families to assist their needs and advocate for reform.  Why wasn't she called to testify?

Then again, Americans love a celebrity.  A national sports figure earns 40 times more than a school teacher or typical public servant.  Hollywood actors and actresses are forgiven for crimes that would leave the typical American behind bars or unable to find work after their release from prison.   Celebrity Colbert certainly brought more media attention to the issue and hearing than the more knowledgeable President of the United Farm Workers of America union, Arturo S. Rodriguez would have brought had he testified alone.

Colbert "worked" for one day in the fields in an effort to bring attention to Arturo Rodiguez's Take Our Jobs campaign meant to highlight the fact that Americans do not want the jobs of the migrant farm workers, and could not withstand the terrible physical labor and job-related problems associated with such jobs.

While Colbert had his humorous remarks, he also talked seriously about the issue. While I enjoy Stephen Colbert as I comedian, I would like to see Sister Ann testifying about the farm workers.  I would also like to see members of the U.S. Congress do the job that they were elected to do...sigh.