Archive for July, 2010


Colbert’s “Take Our Jobs Campaign” is a joke, just not a very funny one

A few weeks back I was on Yahoo and discovered a link to the “Take Our Jobs” campaign sponsored by Comedy Centrals “The Colbert Report.” I don’t watch the show, but I am familiar with it. According to the article Stephen Colbert is sponsoring an initiative in accordance with the United Farm Workers to bring farm jobs to Americans. Colbert has had farm representatives on his show claiming the old adage that Americans don’t want hard labor jobs, and so basically we should be okay with immigrants handling this work-load. Implied in this is the notion that illegal immigrations is a good thing because of the cheap labor and resulting cheap agriculture.

I realize that the truth must be told about how difficult immigrant labor is, and I have never fooled myself about this. Unlike many white americans I have actually worked on a Ranch, in the summer, doing the types of jobs usually reserved for immigrants. I am also aware of the cost benefit of immigrant labor, both to the rancher, and to the consumer. None of this makes illegal immigrant labor okay, and anyone who tells you otherwise, particularly in the name of cost effectiveness, is callous and/or ignorant. Cheap labor costs Americans jobs. Period. Whether or not Americans want these jobs as much as they want other jobs is besides the point. Secondly, why should employers be allowed to exploit illegal labor for unfair wages? People who work dangerous, and difficult jobs should be paid accordingly. But I also realize that too many Americans don’t have a real appreciation for this dilemma so I decided to do something that few people do these days, and put my money where my mouth is. Following the appropriate links, I filled out an online application, and signed up to “take someone’s job.” I would be an agricultural worker!

My plan was to to work this summer, and afterwards do a blog detailing the experience. I also wanted to prove to people like Colbert that white people can do hard work when hard work is needed. Rich white people didn’t just pop up out of the bowel’s of the earth. Most of the early settlers and even most of the robber baron’s of the nineteenth century worked back-breaking jobs to earn their fortune. Most American’s don’t work hard labor jobs because they are capable of making more money doing something easier. That doesn’t mean they can’t work hard when they have to.

But sadly, as it turns out, Colbert’s initiative is nothing more than a joke. Last week I got a response from my inquiry. I was told that “Take Our Jobs” is not an employment agency, and they do not connect people with jobs (even though that is exactly what they are saying they will do) and re-directed to a government run job site called the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) a policy group located out of Washington D.C. Of course, using this web-site I could apply online for any number of jobs, most of them government jobs, but this is no different than something I could have done anyway. Furthermore, I am not really swapping jobs with any migrant worker, which was the entire concept of the campaign. If Stephen Colbert really wants Americans to work migrant jobs why is alink to a web-site the best they can do?

Like most people in America these days, Colbert is not really interested in genuinely helping anyone, or really show-casing how hard migrant labor is. Colbert simply has an agenda. The idea is to offer up this campaign, make it difficult for anyone to apply or receice a job if they do apply, and then when there are little to no applicants he can say “See! No one wants these jobs!”  And of course, a liberal audience will laugh and cheer, and think how stupid and lazy white people are compared to the opressed migrant workers. Give me a break!

Colbert is an American but not proud of it. He makes his money in America, but does little to promote American values or ideas. Colbert doesn’t have to work hard to make his money. He simply has to go on air and make fun of people. But worse than that Colbert is using a real tragedy, the exploitation of illegal labor, to make a cheap political point. Millions of Americans are unemployed and suffering, and many of them would gladly take any job, even a hard one, but Colbert is not really interested in that. Why look into a situation when you can sit back and poke fun at it.

Sadly, the only thing I have received from this campaign so far is an invitation via e-mail to watch the Colbert Report nightly, when the upcoming “Take Our Jobs” campaign results will be announced. No thanks man. I have better things to do. Looking for a job, on my own time, is one of them.


Jack B.