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9/11 First Responder Health Bill: How it Took a Comedian

Filed under: Acts of Kindness,Celebrities,Comedy,Controversy,Politics — Tags: , , — Positronic Dave @ 3:54 am December 27, 2010

The 9/11 First Responders Health Bill owes its passing to a few hard-working people, and one of them is a comedian. The bill was an additional bill, given that the first bill to give medical aid to 9/11 First Responders had long run out. But many of the police, firefighters and medical workers didn’t develop health problems directly attributable to being at the scene of the attack on the World Trade Center until years later. Hence the need for additional funding, hence the new bill.

You’d think, given the amount of political capital that politicians, many of them conservative Republicans got out of repeating the phrase “9/11” that they’d have championed this bill and not defeat it once and only allow passing of this time after the benefit amount had been cut in half. Down here in the blog-mines, we call that “cowardly and hypocritical” but what do we know?

Towards the end of this lame-duck session of Congress, it looked like the bill was dead in the water. Incoming Republicans, slavering for their Congressional majority so they can gum up the works for President Obama even more than they did durting a Democratic majority, had torpedoed the bill.

Enter the comedian…

Noting that no one was even talking about this, Jon Stewart had several of the First responders on The Daily Show, and devoted a whole show to their cause. Whilst skewering the conservatives that loved using 9/11 as a blank check to justify whatever they wanted, while abandoning the actual people who served this country, Stewart also pointed out the cowardice of all the major network news shows, none of whom carried any mention of this story.

Whether it Stewart’s ability to use his show as comedy, actual news, or any combination thereof, he has turned The Daily Show into the actual voice in the wilderness that dares to point out the Emperor’s faux-clothes, whilst making sans-a-belt pants jokes. Not a bad trick for a comedian and a show that, ten years ago, didn’t even show up on cultural radar to any great extent (does anyone remember Jon Stewart’s short-lived talk show, other than me, I mean?).

Because of his, and the show’s, journalistic bravery, the First responder’s will get some health coverage as well as some gratitude from a country they have served with their health and their lives. Even Fox News was willing to shame the Republicans in Congress who stood in the way of this bill, complaining about dollars over heroes. Even Fox News danced to Jon Stewart’s tune.

Most importantly, and Jon Stewart would be the first to say this: the 9/11 First Responders Health Bill has passed. No joke.