In a testimony that has gone viral this week, comedian Jon Stewart blasted the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for the absence of many members regarding a hearing for the continuation of a fund for 9/11 first responders.
In the testimony, Stewart points out that many 9/11 first responders (who are not ailing from 9/11 related illnesses) made the trip from New York to Washington. Stewart blades the committee for this show of disrespect for these 9/11 heroes.
It’s brought the issue to national attention.
The motion did pass the committee on Wednesday and now moves to the house floor.
Part of Stewart’s point was the absurdity that this is something that 9/11 first responders have to continue fighting and lobbying for.
It’s a passionate plea by Stewart. I appreciate his care for those who took care of our nation in the wake of 9/11. Stewart says “Why this bill isn’t unanimous consent and a stand-alone issue is beyond my comprehension.”
On a secondary note, this speech resonates with me because it’s an issue that I believe the vast majority of Americans can support. Politics aside, these people were on the front lines of serving our nation on 9/11. They did it at their own peril. Many of these first responders have met premature deaths due to cancer and other respiratory illnesses from the contaminants they were breathing in. We need to take care of these people.
I heard this testimony, and with the political polarization running as strong as it has in generations in America, I was comforted to find an issue that we can all agree on.
We do so much to demonize those with whom we disagree.
But sometimes, we’re not so different.
Advocacy for 9/11 first responders is not new for Stewart. It is something he has demonstrated on many occasions. The shame is that he has to keep fighting this fight.
There’s one point that Stewart mad in his speech that I think is an important one. Some have tried to pass the buck saying that it’s a funding issue for New York. The 9/11 attacks were not just an attack on New York, but on America, our values, and our way of life.
One of the more moving parts of Stewart’s speech was in talking about how politicians are perfectly comfortable to say “never forget” on anniversaries of 9/11, but then they forget those who served on that day.
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Josh Benner has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.