I have to admit that the idea of celebrities testifying at congressional hearings doesn’t exactly sit well with me. While there is notable precedence to actors going on to have successful political careers, I have to imagine that when it comes to important public health topics like Alzheimer’s, there has to be someone with more credibility and expertise than Seth Rogen. The actor was on Capitol Hill this Wednesday to call on senators on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services to provide more funding for Alzheimer’s research and treatments.
I do respect the fact that he is personally dealing with this disease (his mother-in-law has every onset Alzheimer’s), but with 5 million people in the US living with the disease and exponentially more people being directly affected by it, why defer the spotlight to a celebrity?
In addition, I will give him credit for a funny and emotional speech:
But what really won me, and a lot of other people, over was his reaction to his reception on Capitol Hill. In the end, only 2 of 18 Senators actually sat through the entirety of his speech. He actually sat there and watched people get up and leave while he was talking. I had never really given it any thought, but I imagine this must be common practice during committee meetings, which just demonstrates how our political and legislative system really works. Seth responded by posting a series of tweets calling out the bad behavior. Doing that drew more attention to his cause and the weaknesses in our government than his speech ever could have. So celebrity or not, good for him.
At the very least, I hope that some of the Senators are embarrassed and that more people learned a little about the effects of Alzheimer’s just by following the story of Rogen’s experience testifying in front of an apathetic and barely existent.