To the Editor:
Last year I watched news coverage of the Occupy movement as it took root in cities around the globe, but I didn’t imagine it would reach Main Street in Bryson City. But there we were — about 60 of us holding up signs around the Federal Building on a damp January morning. Our message: corporations are not people, and they should not be granted our right of free speech.
In this case, free speech allows powerful corporations to make unregulated donations to any political group that serves their interests. Does Exxon-Mobil really need government assistance? These sorts of ideas were written on our signs, one of which read “Due to corporate tax cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.”
Countless people expressed support as they drove by, but the most poignant case against corporate personhood came from a heckler who drove past and yelled, “Get a job!” He appeared to be about 70, driving an old truck loaded with construction equipment. Ironically, the majority of demonstrators he berated were also of retirement age. Indeed, as corporate juggernauts exercise their personal right to free speech, it’s likely that ever more people in their 70s will need to compete for jobs. History repeats itself: the ruling class can stay in power by pitting one set of have-nots against another.