It's great when we can disagree in a civilized way, but it's getting pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that the phrase "right-wing logic," as delivered by the GOP and mimicked by Mitt Romney, has become the mother of all oxymorons. They tell us corporations are people. But people? Not so much. That Right used that argument that in yesterday's elections, but it's starting to look like voters in swing states and the heart of Red America have had enough.
They love to preach the "corporate personhood" principle. IBM, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton: They're people! Why, they can even "speak"! Sure, they may be limited to the crude vocabulary of millions and billions, but you gotta admit: Come election time, they're fluent in it.
These corporations are endowed with freedom of speech, say Mitt and Friends, but employees of the same corporations aren't - especially when that speech involves forming a union. Follow the logic and the conclusion is inescapable: the Right believes that the company is a person but the people who work for it aren't.
We're told that corporations have privacy rights, too. They have so much right to privacy, in fact, that when they throw millions of dollars of "speech" into an election we're not allowed to know who's speaking! But the Right says people with jobs don't have privacy rights. Employers can spy on them, say conservatives, even when they're at home using Facebook or Twitter
That anti-human, pro-corporate definition of personhood is part of what Ohio voters soundly rejected yesterday when they overturned the laws passed by its Republican Governor and legislators, who forbid union activities on the part of state employees. In a radical redefinition of the personhood principle,these voters decided that teachers and administrators and other state workers are actually ... people. And as people, they have the right to organize and bargain for themselves.
Some on the Right, including its new recruit Mitt Romney, has also argued that fertilized eggs should have all the rights that accrue to a fully-formed human being. But a full-grown person who happens to be female doesn't have the rights of personhood when it comes to determining how her own body is used.
Some people on the other side of this contentious issue have a genuine difference of belief, a spiritually-based moral code that's worthy of respect. We may disagree vehemently, but we do it with respect when speaking with these people of integrity. It's easy to tell which ones they are; they're the ones who are against killing in all forms. The others believe in a person's right from the moment of conception until the moment they're born without health insurance.
The Mississippi initiative argued that an egg has more rights than the woman carrying it. Voters didn't go for that, even in rock-ribbed fundamentalist Mississippi. Not even the tacit endorsement of new-found "redneck Mitt" - who's started sporting plaid shirts, saying he makes less than working people, and using the song "Born Country" by the group Alabama at his campaign appearances, could persuade them. Even the Tommy Bahama-sportin' hillbilly himself couldn't push this initiative over the line.
In Ohio, Mississippi, and Maine, it's beginning to look like America's bulls**t detector just went off. Voters gave Obama and the Democrats a sweeping victory in 2008, with a clear mandate to clean up the economy, make the rich pay their fair share, rein in the banks (and indict the criminals), and put people back to work. When that didn't happen, they decided to look the other way on some of the crazy stuff and give the Republicans another shot.
Who knows? They may do that again in 2012. But this November, it looks like they could only tolerate so much B.S. and not a shovelful more.
It's good to know that good ol' American common sense is alive and well - in New England, the Rust Belt, and the Deep South. And it's good to see extremists on the Right get a well-deserved drubbing. But Ohio's rejection of the individual healthcare mandate should be a warning to Obama and the Democrats too. The President campaigned against it, but the bill included it anyway - without a public option - and that made the detector start buzzing.
In 2012, politicians better be prepared to give voters the real thing. If they don't, who know what that detector might do.
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