Mrs. Lofgren invited Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report” fame to testify to a House Judiciary subcommittee. Mr. Colbert’s testimony was scripted, aped a conservative character and included lines like “This is America, I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.” Dead silence followed.
No one laughed; all were shocked. To his credit, Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, tried to head off the disaster by excusing Mr. Colbert politely, but the actor appealed to Mrs. Lofgren, who insisted he do his “bit.” It was hard to believe anyone capable of writing such “shtick” would not also have the wit to realize it was horribly inappropriate.
That we have underpaid illegal aliens in the fields means something is wrong, not funny. Some of us grew up in agricultural areas and worked in the fields as adolescents, but the John Deere folks made machines to do our work faster, better and cheaper. The same thing will happen for lettuce- and tomato-picking. The economic crash may mean we’re returning to the bad old days of Depression-style labor. Elected officials like Mrs. Lofgren are making things such as these happen.