On Monday night, Jon Stewart returned to his old haunting grounds: The Daily Show. What should have been a glorious welcome took on a somber tone when he discussed what he was truly on the show to do.
In the past week, Stewart has been tirelessly advocating for the permanent extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which began expiring in September. The act was originally passed in early 2011, and allows the first responders of 9/11 to receive healthcare for life. The bill’s namesake is a NYC police officer who died of a respiratory disease attributed to the awful air quality on the infamous day.
The opposition of this bill has come up with no concrete answer as to why they oppose a piece of legislation that should be a no-brainer. In fact, the bill has enough votes to pass in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. So why aren’t these people receiving health care already?! In short: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring the bill to the Senate floor. The only argument against this bill is that it seems like “an entitlement program.” To this baffling statement, Stewart responded, ““Let’s talk about what an entitlement is: a two-year term with a lifetime pension,” he told Russert. “Those who are on chemotherapy, those who are taking $30,000 a month in medication, that’s not an entitlement — that’s called f*cking living. That’s called trying to survive, while these people want to go home on vacation.””
The Daily Show made an effort to try and pass this bill, which is what they had done when the bill was initially up for debate in 2010. Stewart had invited a panel of first responders to speak on the show about their health problems, and the impact was
incredible. Stewart thought that repeating this could have the effect once again, but the audience was confused when only one man appeared on the stage instead of the four that had attended previously. The lone man explained that one of his colleagues had died, and the other two were too ill to appear on the show. The three chairs were left empty as a sobering reminder that we must do something, and fast.
That’s exactly what Jon encouraged people to do, using the #WorstResponders. This is a jab at the politicians who are the last to respond in a crisis, while the brave men and women of America are selflessly defending our citizens and contracting nothing but illness in return. It’s time to put a stop to this. Now that mass shootings and terrorist attacks are becoming more commonplace, the safety of American citizens depends on first responders now more than ever. Our heroes continue to save lives even when the public turns their backs on them moments later, leaving them alone to deal with the problems they obtained while going above and beyond their civic duty.