Newell: I wish every American could call Congress out like Jon Stewart

Newell Normand
June 14, 2019 - 10:54 am

Jon Stewart gave a fiery speech before Congress, criticizing them for playing political games with the lives of 9/11 first responders. 

Here are some of Newell Normand’s HOT TAKES:

  • I was always a fan of Jon Stewart, but I’ve never been more of a fan than now.  His testimony before Congress was absolutely compelling.  He epitomizes the citizen leader.  Jon Stewart said before the House Judiciary Committee what so many of us wish we could say to the men and women on Capitol Hill who all too often are politicians more than leaders.  I wish I had the opportunity to tell Congress the quote I love most from Stewart, “We ought to be sitting up there and you ought to be sitting down here to answer our questions.” 
  • When it comes to the first responder community, this was a proud moment.  Jon Stewart has no direct connection to first responders, but he stood up for them…and has been standing up for them for many, many years.  He’s the voice of heroes too sick or too worn out to speak up for themselves.
  • The Victims Compensation Fund was set up for 9/11 first responders, and they’ve had to go before Congress several times to fight for appropriate funding.  It’s turned out to be a tragic game up there.
  • Jon Stewart gave this amazing speech to a half-filled committee room.  If the committee was addressing an issue about Trump’s family, it would’ve been a full house.  But because he was talking about first responders - their lives, their survival, their families’ futures - the seats were half-filled.
  • Jon Stewart is right.  They’ve had to play the political games to get funding.  Politicians are using this request…they’ve attached it to this bill, to be able to use the heart-tugs and the emotional aspect of the ailments, frailty and horror of the brave men and women who responded unselfishly to a national emergency …as a pawn for their own gain.
  • Then there are those who are trying to make this a New York problem.  Well, I could tell you about how, in the aftermath of 9/11, I stood with my brothers and sisters in the first responder community shaking firefighter boots at the corner of Veterans and Causeway, asking for pennies and nickels and quarters and dollars and seeing people give $100 bills out of the kindness of their heart.
  • This was all happening in a patriotic way; we were Americans first.  We were all thinking of the best interests of our country because of the uncertainty on so many different fronts.  There was no hesitation then.  So why now?  Why now do we forget?  Why now do we play the game?  Why now does it continue to be business as usual in Congress?  Why now?

(The good news, the next day the House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the 9/11 victims fund bill, but let’s all remember it took Jon Stewart’s public SHAMING to make that happen.  It took shaming to make them do their jobs.  Now, let’s see what happens in the next steps before the Congressional Budget office then a full vote in the House.)

Listen to Newell pop off on this below.

Comments ()