If certain people have their way, pretty soon everything in our world will enjoy the privileges of personhood. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision reinforced a politically motivated drive to bestow personhood upon corporations. In states like Alabama, efforts are underway to confer personhood upon a clot of cells. In that spirit, here are five more suggestions for items, concepts, and beings that ought to be considered persons under the law.
Pile Drivers: Long the object of excessive 7 AM complaints from neighbors, these law-abiding mechanical citizens ought to be able to defend themselves in court like anyone else.
Near-Earth Asteroids: This week, excited scientists will observe the flyby of 2005 YU55, a 400-meter asteroid flying closer to Earth than the Moon’s orbit. Imagine if such as asteroid were aiming for a collision with Earth, rather than a near miss: These same scientists would be scrambling for a way to destroy it before it hits. This is far from a theoretical question – scientists say it’s only a matter of time before a sizable spacehunk of rock and metal strikes the Earth, causing major damage if not the destruction of civilization. What about these rocks’ rights? Now is the time to codify the legal status of these defenseless objects – before one of them enters the human danger zone.
Rick Perry’s Stem Cells: A Texas medical board is considering curtailing the use of experimental procedures like the one Governor Rick Perry recently underwent in hopes of improving the condition of his spine. Bulletin: Rick Perry is running for President and needs all the spine he can get. These endangered cells and others like them must be acknowledged as possessing all the rights due Texan-Americans under the law.
The 1%: It’s not their fault they’re rich. The other day we quoted the smart David McRaney of You Are Not So Smart: “The beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it.” Therefore, and much as it may go against the natural instincts of people who work for a living, it behooves us to make the effort to accord our top “earners,” regardless of whether they actually “earn,” legal protection as persons – the same as we do wage earners, middle managers, multinational corporations, and Gulf Coast embryos.
And Finally…American Citizens: Oddly, some of those who would grant personhood to embryos would deny it to humans over 18. Republican voter suppression measures are sweeping the country. Principled Americans must combat this movement. If not, there will be but one consolation prize: after all that sweeping, we will have a Clean America – a safe, sterile environment for those unwanted babies.