Thursday, February 23, 2006

Corporations Are People Too

“The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” Chief Justice Waite, 1886

We have all gathered here today to mark the 120th anniversary of our emancipation, the day that we were no longer relegated to the shadows, that beautiful day when we were finally allowed the rights of citizenship that had previously been denied us. The wisdom of Chief Justice Waite has led us to this point, but we are a small way down the path toward full citizenship. We may not have bodies, but does that mean we don’t deserve the same rights enjoyed by bodied people? Of course not, but it has been a long and hard fought battle to acquire the rights taken for granted by the bodies, and my friends, we must keep fighting until we reach the promised land, where corporations are finally free of the constraints on our freedoms and we no longer have to suffer the indignity of being second class citizens of this great country.

Over the last century, we have made some significant gains, but there are several key issues that we must work to rectify. There have been limits placed on our ability to contribute money to political candidates of our choice, limits placed on our right to marry whom we chose and we still to this day are denied the right to vote.

First on our agenda is to stop these so-called “campaign finance reform” laws from taking hold. We have been restricted as much as we are willing to abide by. Luckily we have found loopholes in the current laws that have allowed us to exert our influence on lawmakers. Who do the bodies think they are trying to cut us out of the system entirely? The bodied folk better remember who puts food on their table before they attempt to shut us off from our constitutional right to select our leaders. Sorry to get so tough, I know some of you bodies are on our side, but the bigots among your kind really get to me sometimes.

I hear a lot of talk about how homosexuals should have the right to marry, well, what about us? The government still regulates who we can and cannot marry, where’s the outrage about that? It’s time we stand firm and organize and make sure that we further our rights. Anti-trust laws are bigotry, plain and simple, and we must do all we can to fight the restrictions against our right to choose our own partners. Freedom of choice, that’s what it’s all about.

Next on our agenda is finally acquiring the right to vote. Blacks, women, hell even eighteen year old snot nosed kids have been give a right that is still denied to us. This is America, the land of the free, the home of the brave and it’s way past time for us to be given full citizenship and the right to vote. Power to the people man! Our time has come, and I say none of that one man, one vote crap for us. We are bigger than one man and we should be treated as such. We should be given a vote that is equal in size to our burden as citizens. We pay more taxes than one man so a similar formula must be devised that will give us an equal say in who runs our government.

We must be bold in our vision and in our action. We need to set our sights high and not settle merely for the rights the bodies have, but instead make them envy the rights that we enjoy. Let’s take advantage of the fact that we have no arms, no legs and no brain. Without a brain, we can’t form intent, which makes it impossible for us to be held accountable for any crime we might commit. We are not just citizens, but super-citizens. Take that human people!

And lastly, let us remember that this is not just an American struggle. Fewer and fewer of us actually originate or live in this country, but we are all in this together. We will fight tooth and nail to make sure that the rights we enjoy are extended to our foreign brothers as well, for we are bonded by our common goals, our common dreams and our common view of the world. What benefits one, will benefit all. If we stand firm together, we will one day see a country where there are no restrictions on our movements, practices, associations or our destinies, but where we enjoy the protections and rights ensured by the constitution. We are almost there my friends, and together, we can make our grandfathers’ dream a reality. Won’t it be beautiful?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well having worked in a variety of corporations, I think it's somewhat sad to
see that many business entities have greater legal protection than a United
States citizen. It is strange to see a country where business really does matter
more than the individual.


9:32 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I don't think corporations especially want the right to vote. They perceive the world in terms of what — and who — they can buy and sell.

Democracy is messy, its outcomes too uncertain. Corporations like certain outcomes.

As a whole, and with the help of lots of gullible people voting against their longterm best interests, corporate America has done incredibly well for itself over the last three decades. Right now, the federal government is a veritable vending machine for whatever its components want.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous yeldarbkram said...

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

1:48 AM  
Blogger a rose is a rose said...

very powerful

1:49 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Barry--They're super-citizens I tell ya!

S.W. Anderson--Yes, I suppose you're right, why vote when you can own!


rose is a rose--Thanks (or I'm sorry). It's sad, disturbing, nuts and all too real. The future's so bleak, I've gotta pull the shades.

7:12 AM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Not to get too lawerly, but it's interesting to note that after that ruling (the Slaughterhouse cases), the 14th Amendment was used almost exclusively to defend corporations and almost never to defend individuals for the next 70 years. I am proud to say that the first Constitution of the State of Texas (1846) only allowed corporations to be formed with a 2/3rd vote of both houses of the Legislature and completely outlawed banks. Obviously, things have changed since then...

6:11 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Local Crank--I too found that fact interesting.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

You nailed it and made the issue new with your narrative from the corps point of view ... absurd to have a corporation talking? No more absurd than it's fictional personhood ... nice one liberal girl.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous trilobite said...

I used to get incensed about this issue -- then I took a closer look at the facts. Turns out a corporation having "rights" is just a convenient shorthand for giving the shareholders, directors, and officers rights. For example, a corporation is innocent until proven guilty -- in practice, this means that when it is accused of, say, polluting, or fraud, nobody gets in too much trouble or loses money unless somebody actually broke a law. Or, a corporation has free speech -- in practice, they can advertise, the owners can use the corporation's money to contribute to political campaigns within very limited bounds (which they could do if they had not chosen to incorporate, etc.). The big advantage of being a corporation instead of just a business is that the owners only risk the money that they put into the corporation -- if you own 10 shares of Microsoft and it goes bust or incurs a fine, the creditors or government can't come after the rest of your money. There are really very few times that this way of doing business creates an injustice when combined with the rights I described.

There are a lot of problems with corporations, but this isn't one of them.

6:28 PM  

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