Thursday, October 28, 2010

Statements from October 20: Laird Monahan

Here's Laird Monahan's remarks at the Lincoln Memorial, as he and his brother finished a five-month walk across America to educate and inspire its citizens to end corporate personhood:

This is not the end.  Today doesn’t even represent the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning. We can only thank the Roberts Supreme Court for their arrogance in that it gave momentum to this movement that has been languishing in the country’s apathy for so many years.  All the effort that Granny D. accomplished was overturned by five arrogant men.  “Granny D.” Doris Haddock, was most effective and instrumental in helping to get the McCain/Feingold bill passed that limited corporate influence in our elections.  At 89 she started walking across the United States. She had two more birthdays before she finished.  I hope this walk will  honor her memory.  Let us pause for a moment of silence to remember the strength of purpose and dedication she gave to her country.
On Sunday, Robin and I spent the afternoon at the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History. Among the vast number of exhibits was the acknowledgement that:
"Though the Declaration of Independence declared that all men are created equal, race, religion, ethnicity, class and gender limited the rights of many Americans to participate in the Constitution's promise of democratic government. African Americans and women struggled throughout the 19th century for rights that only white male property holders had been granted in the 18th century."
This led me to reflect on the Constitution and it’s strength. That whenever people were recognized as included in the meaning of "The People", the Constitution itself was already inclusive. However imperfect it might be, it didn't need any more than the14th and 21st amendments to give Black Americans and Women the right to vote.
We are now faced with another problem, unanticipated by the founding fathers; that of the insidious inclusion of corporations as legal persons without the benefit of a Constitutional Amendment. Why would real human persons need Constitutional Amendments to be included in Constitutional benefits and protections but corporations do not?
The fact is that corporations never will be real people and would never be able to enjoy a two thirds vote by the Congress, for personhood and inclusion in Constitution as "The People", let alone a 3/4 majority of the states to ratify such a preposterous Amendment.
But the Supreme Court of the United States acting on a precedent established surreptitiously in 1886, 124 years ago, took it upon themselves to circumvent any public debate on the subject and decreed, from the bench, a proclamation of such audacity that 80% of the American People would reject it in a moment if they had a chance. These five men; Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Alito, Thomas,  Kennedy and Scalia, have violated over two hundred years of the court’s tradition of judicial restraint; that of addressing an issue that had not been brought before them in a legal case. They took a simple case about a question of accounting and told the litigants that it was a case about free speech and corporate personhood. This was unprecedented judicial hubris.
That decision has legalized the intimidation and bribery of our representatives that has been going on behind closed doors for years. It made mockery of our Constitution and turned it into a fraud. The Supreme Court does not care whether the people consent to be governed by corporations or not.

This is the defining issue of our time.  It holds sway over all other social agendas.  It is fundamental to the civil rights of all U.S. citizens and we must engage with everyone regardless of their ideologies.  That means we must talk with Republicans and Tea Partiers.  We must also talk with young people, whose government we are in the process of building and inspire everyone to action.

It is up to us. The footprints that Granny D. left in the dust must be renewed again and again. The people are only dimly aware of the seriousness of this crime against "We the People". We stand today, appointed by our own awareness of our patriotic duty and what we are called to do. We must wake the entire nation and battle against the tyrants who would steal our taxes and representation in our own government. I ask you all to look inward at the patriotic citizen inside and devote your own footsteps to this cause.

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