Today Stephen Colbert testified, in character, before a congressional subcommittee on immigration. He said things like “I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican” and the answer to needing illegal immigrants to pick our fruits and vegetables is to stop eating fruits and vegetables.
I’m sure Colbert thought it was a great opportunity to enhance his “brand.” He got to take his act to Capitol Hill and get some free publicity “testifying” before an honest-to-God congressional panel. I’m sure the Democratic Representative who is the chair of the subcommittee, Zoe Lofgren, thought it was a great way to get her subcommittee some air time. Others, however, didn’t think it was very funny.
I fall into the latter camp. What is the point of having a comedian testify, in character, about a serious issue like immigration? I think it just makes Congress and congressional processes seem like even more of a joke, and it certainly suggests that Congress thinks that immigration isn’t worth much serious attention. In an era when public respect for Congress is scraping the bottom of the barrel, why would Representative Lofgren think such a stunt was a good idea?