Jon Stewart is standing up for former military personnel by calling out their lack of public support.
During AMVETS’ Rolling to Remember Rally in Washington, D.C., Stewart, an advocate for veterans’ and first responders’ rights, asked “Where are the American people?”
The Memorial Day weekend rally raises awareness for HR 3967, the Honouring our PACT Act of 2021, during the annual three-day motorcycle demonstration ride, shedding light on veterans’ issues like high suicide rates among former service people and those missing.
The PACT Act, on which Stewart was ordering congressional action, particularly aims to address “health care, presumption of service-connection, research, resources, and other matters related to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during military service,” like burn pits.
Stewart was appalled by the small crowd and seemed to have an issue with the attendees present, which only included those with a personal connection to veterans’ rights.
“The people sitting behind me — it’s hard not to be here today and not get frustrated again because as I look out in the crowd, I see the same thing I always see: veterans and their families and caregivers. But where [are] the American people?” he asked during his speech.
Jon Stewart demanding action on the Honoring our PACT Act which will grant disability and VA healthcare benefits for veterans suffering after exposure to harmful toxins, such as from open-air burn pits and agent orange.
We must pass this bill and save the lives of our veterans. pic.twitter.com/NpRkkr3wLs
— Ted Corcoran (RedTRaccoon) (@RedTRaccoon) May 28, 2022
The former host of “The Daily Show” criticized the surface-level and performative support for veterans which he said will surely appear on social media feeds.
“This is Memorial Day weekend. Man, you’re going to read the tweets this weekend. You’re going to look at the Facebook pages and you’re going to think to yourself, ‘Oh, does America love me. Boy, they love us.’ You’re going to go to Applebee’s. They’re going to give you them baby back ribs. Probably 20% off, not even 10%, because of how much they support you,” Stewart said.
“He’s much more than just the famous guy we throw out in the front of the cameras. [@jonstewart's] been intricately involved in the strategy of explaining the issue of burn pits & other toxic exposures in the military to both lawmakers & the public." https://t.co/ebhMddb8CL
— Rolling To Remember (@RollToRemember) May 28, 2022
The comedian added that real action among nonveterans is often missing, despite the online support.
“And yet we come out here today looking for the support of the American people, and what do we have behind me? It’s veterans organizations. It’s veterans. It’s their families. This country can’t be this broken. If we can’t do the simple sh**, we have nothing,” he concluded.
In 2019, Stewart was awarded New York City’s highest civic honour, the Bronze Medallion, for his “tireless advocacy, inspiration, and leadership,” which gave rise to the passing of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.