5 Funny Ways to Contest Corporate Personhood
Corporations are people. Never mind that that’s inherently untrue, it’s the law. Despite what the Supreme Court says, the majority of Americans do not agree with this sentiment. To demonstrate how ridiculous this law of the land is, some such citizens have found unique, amusing ways to poke some obvious holes into the counter-intuitive assertion.
1. Carpool with a Corporation
Some people find coworkers to ride to work with, but California resident Jonathan Frieman let corporate paperwork sit in the passenger seat on his commute. When pulled over for driving in the carpool lane alone, Frieman showed the police officer the documents and explained his case. Lest you think this was a matter of quick thinking on Frieman’s part, he insists he’s been riding in the carpool lane with these papers for years now with the hope of finally being pulled over in order to challenge corporate personhood in the courts. The judge cited “common sense” and found Frieman guilty – a decision he plans to appeal – even though he very much agrees with the decision.
2. Marry a Corporation
Angela Vogel figured that since corporations are people, what’s to stop her from falling in love with one? She held a public wedding with her groom, named “Corporate Person,” and successfully filed for a marriage certificate with the city of Seattle. Unfortunately, Vogel and Person’s honeymoon was short-lived as the license was soon revoked because Corporate Person was determined to be unable to consent.
3. Label Corporations “Welfare Mamas”
If corporations are people, and people who don’t pay taxes are vilified as moochers and part of the infamous “47%,” then it only makes sense to voice opposition to corporations who don’t pay taxes. I mean heck, if you’re going to condemn seniors and families with non-existent incomes for accepting government handout, why not call out billionaire corporations ExxonMobil, Bank of America, GE and Chevron who instead of paying taxes actually receive rebates from the IRS?
4. Charge Failed CEOs with Murder
When executives bankrupt a company, in the eyes of the law, they are essentially ending a life. Therefore, when a corporation ceases to exist, CEOs should be held accountable, not given a golden parachute. Satirist Stephen Colbert illustrated this point perfectly when he declared professional corporation dismantler Mitt Romney a serial killer.
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Of course, the opposite must be true, too. As people, corporations should also face more serious consequences for defrauding humans. Like a sign I’ve seen at several protests says, “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.” Let’s stop settling for minimal financial settlements and demand a corporation receive life in prison – or even the death penalty – for its crimes.
5. Run a Corporation for Political Office
Corporations already fund elected officials’ campaigns, so why not cut out the middleman? That’s what Murray Hill, Inc. attempted when it ran for a Congressional seat in Maryland in 2010. Using the slogan “For the best democracy money can buy,” the corporation ran into some trouble when it attempted to register as a Republican and could not prove its United States citizenship. But if corporations aren’t American, I don’t know what is!
Funny as these examples may be, they also illuminate how inconsistent the laws are. Corporations are “people” – but only in instances when it helps them to rake in immense profits. Otherwise, the courts continually rule “of course corporations aren’t people in THAT sense.” Perhaps one day the Supreme Court will acknowledge that the notion is entirely bogus, but in the meantime, keep on ridiculing the law to show what a farce it is.