Corporations Are More 'Tin Men' Than People

wizard of oz poster

Every golden nugget from my childhood has been remade, retold, reworked. There is one tried and true thing I cherish from my childhood that I share with my sons -- Schoolhouse Rock. American rock has actually been helpful in sparking some great teaching moments and springboard for discussions. I’m just waiting for some jingle writers to get in on rewriting the lyrics to all the old Schoolhouse Rock songs I loved as a kid. If folks like Mitt Romney have their way, a new song would follow a new Constitution: “We the corporations, in order to form a more perfect union ...” Not quite the same ring to it ...

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Help me understand how our universe became so twisted that a man running for President of the United States takes corporate personhood so literally. Sometimes I feel like David Byrne is singing over my shoulder. How did I get here? America has turned into a kaleidoscopic distorted image of its former self.

Despite the intricacies of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporations are entities, not human beings. We are not yet in a Jetsons robotic age where the two blur to become synonymous. Justice John Paul Stevens had it right:

... corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established. ~Supreme Court, 2010

So corporations are to be regarded as people but unions are not? I just cannot seem to grasp the absurdity of this in general. Corporations put shareholder return above employee and citizen well being. The sheer nature of corporate structure makes it a perfect host organism for Greed. Shareholders and citizens are different animals. It starts to get really murky when you’re talking about foreign corporations and foreign shareholders. I’m not saying corporations are inherently evil (I have worked for some of the world’s biggest and most powerful and had great experiences), but the nature and role of a corporation is not the same as a human being. You’ve been hornswoggled if you argue that corporate wealth translates to citizens’ prosperity. Trickle down economics has been failing those of us who are not corporations.

I’m not a lawyer or a Constitutional law scholar. But I am an educated voter. In my assessment, Romney’s love affair with corporations and big business just stinks. There’s something unsavory lurking here, and lifting up the American people is not on this man’s agenda. I can’t help but wonder if corporations are people, are they male or female? I’m going with male. They whip out their big compensation packages and screw the rest of us.

A corporation isn’t a person; it’s more of a tin man like Romney himself. It lacks heart.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see Are Corporations People?


Image via U.S. Lithograph Co./Wikimedia

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