No disrespect to the super-villains in comic books: Riddler, Two-Face, Bizarro-Superman. But compared to the politics of Republican "personhood"? They seem practically normal!
I can almost hear the Riddler: "Riddle me this, riddle me that -- why is a corporation like a fertilized egg?"
Answer: Mitt Romney thinks that both are people; read on to find out why.
Consider the super-villain Two-Dace, with a coin he flips for decisions: heads he buys you dinner, tails he puts crocodiles in your swimming pool.
What if both sides of the coin had negative outcomes?
The personhood concept has two bad sides: corporate and reproductive. It is a tossup which is more ludicrous and damaging.
In reproductive personhood, all fertilized human eggs are re-defined as people, with full legal rights under law; this includes even a one-cell blastocyst, an dot in a dish of salt water, left over from fertility treatments. Should this be considered a child if there is no pregnancy? Personhood says yes, a full human being exists from conception.
If a fertilized egg is a person, this offers a challenge to Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court decision allowing abortions within narrow. Could that be overthrown?
Justice Potter Stewart said, "If it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, you would have an impossible case."
Not only would personhood criminalize abortion at any stage, even in cases of rape or incest; but it would also inevitably ban embryonic stem cell research, some forms of birth control, and perhaps the in vitro fertilization procedure -- if a fertilized egg is a full-fledged human, beginning at the point of conception, extinguishing it would have to be considered murder.
Could Romney support such a dangerous fantasy?
In 2007 he was asked, "Do you believe life begins at conception?" on Meet the Press in 2007. Romney answered, "I do. I believe, I believe from a, from a, a political perspective that life begins at conception."
But perhaps this belief has "evolved," like his previous support for mandatory healthcare coverage, which he recommended for his own state, but which he now condemns?
In 2011 Fox newshost Mike Huckabee, himself a personhood proponent, interviewed Romney. Huckabee asked, "Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?" Romney replied, "Absolutely."
The other side of the coin? Personhood ascribes humanity -- to corporations.
Corporate personhood might make sense in a Bizarro world, where everything is backward. Poor Bizarro-Superman might say "Corporations am people," because he always gets everything wrong. But surely not Willard "Mitt" Romney -- heir apparent to the mantle of George Bush?
"Corporations are people, my friend," said Willard "Mitt" Romney.
Corporate personhood was originally established as a "convenient legal fiction," to allow corporations to sue and be sued. It was never intended to imply humanity.
But now, since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen's United vs. Federal Elections Commission, corporations have had very real personhood rights established and expanded, these alleged "free speech" rights permitting them to use Super PACs to pour unlimited cash into elections.
This November, an unparalleled tsunami of money may flood the GOP into a trifecta victory, gaining control of the White House, Congress and Senate. With such unbalanced power, they could propose and pass virtually any law they wanted.
And the Supreme Court? Imagine if Romney could nominate still more justices of the ultra-conservative mold, which a Republican legislature would instantly approve... Chief Justice John Roberts surprised with his vote on the health care mandate, but that was probably an unique exception: I suspect he remains the right-wing hawk who gave us Citizens United.
Adding just one more young Supreme Court justice would create a 6-3 conservative majority which could dominate for decades.
Comic books are fantasies: painted daydreams, just for fun.
But a "Personhood Presidency" would be a living nightmare.
Remember in November!
Follow Don C. Reed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/diverdonreed