Corporate personhood: Hightower, Colbert and MLK

Jan 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm
Progressive columnist Jim Hightower gave us a cover story back in November that we billed as Up against the corporations: Here's how real people can fight back.

Now Hightower is advancing the case of human people vs. corporation people alongside The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, Ben and Jerry and others in a video humorously titled It's Viral! It's making rounds calling for a movement against the Citizens United decision.

Also weighing in on the whole corporate personhood things is Stephen Colbert's Super PAC,  Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow  — we like saying that name — released an ad in time for the South Carolina primary scheduled for next week.

In the minute-long spot, narrator John Lithgow (who played a serial killer on the hit series Dexter) says: “Mitt Romney has a secret. As head of Bain Capital he bought companies, carved them up, and got rid of what he couldn’t use. If Mitt Romney really believes ‘corporations are people, my friend, then Mitt Romney is a serial killer. He’s Mitt the Ripper.”

Looking at these on MLK Day got us thinking: Would Martin Luther King Jr. have shared a similar view on "corporations are people" as expressed by GOP nominee hopeful Mitt Romney and as the Supreme Court's landmark 2008 ruled in the Citizens United case?

It's probably just a matter of time before one of the GOP's deep thinkers declares corporate personhood a logical extension of the "I Have a Dream" speech. The same way affirmative action foes claim King would definitely be on their side. The same way Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll figures that Governor Rick Scott “epitomizes Martin Luther King Jr.” (For one thing, he's pushing one of those voter fraud protection bills that critics say are intended to suppress the voting rights that King and the civil rights movement fought for in the first place.)

We're pretty sure that King wouldn't endorse corporations as people. And this we're certain of: If corporations are people, King would want them judged by the content of their character, not just the ink color of their bottom line.