When #JimmyKimmel's youngest son, Billy, was realized to have a serious heart condition that required surgery in almost the immediate aftermath of his birth, he did what he could have — and should have — done.
Once he knew that his son was in the best hands possible and out of danger, he used the very public forum that he has to try and fight for change. I have no idea if that was his initial intent, but it certainly came across that way. While I live in a country where universal health care is a right and not a privilege, I found myself applauding Kimmel's heart-searing speech.
On Oct. 2, one day after one of the most devastating mass shootings that the United States has ever seen, #Kimmel, like other talk show hosts, found themselves having to take the stage in less than ideal circumstances. His situation was made even more difficult because Kimmel originally hails from #LasVegas; according to Heavy.com, Kimmel was born in Brooklyn but moved to #Vegas with his family when he was 9.
The city of Las Vegas clearly has a place in Kimmel's heart, so when he took the stage of his late-night talk show on Oct. 2, there was no surprise that he would speak about the tragedy that unfolded that left 60 dead and over 500 injured.
Certainly, other talk show hosts spoke about Vegas and the current state of gun control laws in the United States. #TrevorNoah was very blunt, noting that Congress was arguing about whether gun silencers should be deregulated.
“Just to give you an idea of how far away America is from actual gun control — this week Congress is going to vote on deregulating gun silencers," he remarked in comments that were released ahead of the broadcast. "Because I guess Congress is thinking gun violence is out of control. How can we make it quieter? To the people of Las Vegas, I cannot give you thoughts and prayers. I can only say I’m sorry that we live in a world where people would put a gun before your lives.”
Kimmel seemed to be in tears by the end of his monologue, though, and had both Congress and the National Rifle Association (NRA) in his crosshairs.
“I’ve been reading comments from people who say this is terrible, but there’s nothing we could do about it,” he said. “But I disagree with that — intensely. Of course, there was something we can do about it. I don’t know why do our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen? Or maybe a better question: Why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?”
He ripped into President Donald Trump, who in February signed legislation that revoked the limitations that the Obama administration placed on the ability of those being treated for mental illness to access guns. Kimmel also took aim at other members of Trump's cabinet during his powerful address.
"Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and a number of other lawmakers — who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip — also sent their thoughts and prayers today,” Kimmel continued, adding that their thoughts and prayers were "insufficient."
Some individuals have taken to social media to say that Kimmel should stick to entertaining and not encouraging change.
"Jimmy kimmel (sic) is nothing but a mouth piece for Chuck Shummer (sic) and the Democratic Creative’s party of liberal snowflakes," tweeted Twitter user AlLaCivita.
Here's the deal, though. Kimmel spoke from his heart, both in the situation regarding his son and in the heartbreaking Las Vegas tragedy. When you speak from your heart, rather than a teleprompter, people are more likely to believe what you're saying.
While it's true that there are many who would argue that entertainers should not use their platforms to lobby for any sort of societal change — because they're entertainers and the rest of us would get in trouble if we used our time working to lobby for political issues — there are also those who rightfully point out that if people aren't using the platforms they are given in order to try and make positive change in the world, what good is happening?
Jimmy Kimmel speaking from his heart shows us that he's human. He's real, just like the rest of us, and should be celebrated for being unafraid of speaking from his heart and letting his emotions flow.
Here's his monologue shortly after his son Billy was born: