Regarding Mr. Lix’s belief that corporations should enjoy the inalienable rights of people: nothing in the Constitution indicates corporations should have the rights of human beings. The Revolutionary War was as much about overthrowing England’s corporate stranglehold of the colonies (Massachusetts Bay Co., East India Co…) as it was about getting rid of King James. Remember the original Tea Party?

During our nation’s first century, corporations were barred from many rights enjoyed by Americans, including our electoral and legislative processes. The nation’s founders knew huge wealth accumulated through tax shelters, limited liability, and immortality coupled to electioneering and legislative influence would make corporations more powerful than We The People. These safeguards from corporate power began to unravel when “corporate personhood” was introduced by judicial precedent (Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886) by an “activist” Supreme Court filled with ex-railroad corporation lawyers. The recent Citizens United decision allowing unlimited spending in elections by foreign and domestic corporations is simply the latest judicial assertion that corporations should have the rights of people.

The individuals running corporations have every right to participate in elections and legislation – as individuals. However, funneling billions from corporate fortunes into ad campaigns and lobbying completely undermines our system of governance. Corporations now control who gets elected and what laws get passed.  They act in their best interests, not ours, and circumvent democracy in the process.  

If they can’t vote, they shouldn’t be allowed to influence elections.  Corporations can be granted privileges, but shouldn’t possess our inalienable rights.

Gershon Cohen