Nightly funny-man Stephen Colbert made quite the scene on Capitol Hill last week when he gave testimony regarding day laborers working on farms. If you haven't seen the video click here. I've linked it to a great blog "Politics and World" which is worth taking a look at...though I personally may not agree with everything they say over there!
My two cents on the whole thing is that yes, Colbert did make a bit of a mockery out of the whole issue. And the press, in their constant state of stupidity, focused more on the spectacle of his presence rather than the substance of what Colbert was getting at. I'm a little torn on this. On one hand I did find what he had to say a bit muddled and lost in his attempt at making light of the whole issue and I don't necessarily agree with what he had to say. I do believe that there are plenty of Americans willing to take a job picking vegetables, and these are jobs that are being taken by illegals. At the same time I do agree that there is a huge pay disparity versus the physical difficulty of the work as well as a complete lack of any sort of help in case of injury.
I'm all for businesses doing what they can in order to achieve a higher profit, but not at the expense of the people that help you make that profit. Food pickers are an integral part of the farming process (until we can make a machine that does it better) and for the farming industry to treat them almost as non-people is wrong.
I will concede that there are several huge factors that keep the situation the way it is, first off is people unwilling to pay more for their products as well as the off-shoot products they provide. Corn for example is used in just about everything and to increase the cost on the front end would certainly trickle down to the average consumer. Secondly, these are illegal immigrants we are talking about. They came here out of desperation and are willing to do any job for next to nothing because it was more than what they had back home. That's tough to compete with. And for a company that's next to impossible to say no to.
This is an issue that I certainly hope will be come more prevalent in the national discourse. Hopefully, what Colbert did was to kick-start the conversation a little bit. We'll have to wait and see what happens.