(Article changed on October 21, 2012 at 17:02)
Born humans and corporations are persons; they have "personhood'. In some States there is a movement that wants very badly to declare a fertilized human egg and then a fetus to have that same personhood.
Does a fetus or a corporation have voting rights? Well, sort of. The Supreme Court in their supreme wisdom have not given corporations the vote quite yet, but they have declared that corporations have a voice, and that voice is money. And so, according to the Constitution, as persons they have free speech. They have most certainly made themselves heard. Or is the money of the owners of corporations we have heard?
The President has the the right to declare any person a danger to the State and the unquestionable authority to have that person killed. Can the president have a corporation killed? A subversive fetus killed?
Any person can be detained indefinitely without charge on assumption of being, or being associated with, or communicating with, or supporting, even thinking about a terrorist organization as defined by the Federal Government. How about a corporation who (persons are "who' not "that') sells a product to someone in another country who sells it to a terrorist man or organization?
Does a fetus get a Social Security number? Does a fetus need a passport or visa? How do corporations cross borders?
In some States a person who kills another person shall be killed.
Is causing the dissolution of a corporation murder: killing a person? How about a corporation who causes the death of one or more people? Or, what it one corporation absorbs, ingests, eats another corporation.: Is that cannibalism? Corporations do it all the time.
People who are of sufficient age (depending on State laws) and have no ciminal record are allowed to carry weapons, including assault weapons, and unlimited rounds of ammunition, for the purpose of hunting birds or bears, and/or protecting him- or herself from an assumed dangerous person or persons. Hard to image an armed fetus. An armed corporation, oh yes.
Siamese twins--two fetuses attached to each other in the womb, sometimes sharing a brain--one person or two? Sometimes it is impossible to separate them surgically without sacrificing one of them. I assume that too would be murder, If not separated, they won't live long.
For many months a fetus does not look human at all, But of course corporations never look human.
It seems clear we in this country have made a distinction between human and person. Persons who are not human. The next step is humans who are not persons. The men in Guantanamo are non-persons. All the two plus million incarcerated humans may be non-persons; they have no rights; some of them will never have voting right. All the people the president declares terrorist are non-persons. Someone can declare that all Muslims are non-persons. Whole neighborhoods may be inhabited by non-persons. Who knows, I may be a non-person but I know I am human.
I don't like being a person, equal to a corporation, or a fetus; I am a human.
Aren't words silly? And yet these silly words are changing our country, maybe the world.