PRICE: Pair walks country for a cause

May 19, 2010
Nancy Price

A pair of brothers who are walking across America to protest what they call 'the legal fiction that corporations are persons with constitutional rights' will be in Davis on Wednesday.

Robin Monahan, 67, and his brother Laird, 69, will be at the Farmers' Market beginning at 4:30 p.m. They left San Francisco on Saturday and will set off for Sacramento on Thursday morning.

The Monahans are walking the old Lincoln Highway to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., hoping to arrive by Election Day, Nov. 2. Their progress can be tracked online at http://lairdandrobin.org.

Local residents are invited to meet and talk with them Wednesday and sign the new 'Declaration of Independence from Corporate Rule.'

The Monahan brothers were motivated by a Jan. 21 U.S. Supreme Court decision against the Federal Election Commission in the Citizens United case. The 5-4 decision not only confirmed corporations as persons with constitutional rights, but also expanded corporate political free speech rights under the First Amendment to allow corporations to spend unlimited money in politics for or against candidates in local and national elections.

'The Supreme Court's decision,' Robin says, 'will allow corporations to become the greatest intimidators of our senators and representatives ever before witnessed in our country. We felt we had to do something beyond letter-writing or drafting and signing petitions. Our anger over this gutting of our political system called out to us for a physical sacrifice to stop it.'

The brothers are following the example of Doris Haddock, who, at age 89, began her walk across the country for campaign finance reform on Jan. 1, 1999. Fourteen months later, at age 90, she arrived in Washington, D.C.

Embraced as 'Granny D,' her walk created a groundswell of support for legislation to limit corporate money in politics. That led to Congress' approval of the bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold) and more than 20 state campaign finance laws, now all struck down by the Supreme Court.

The Monahan brothers are sponsored by MovetoAmend, a consortium of more than 50 organizations promoting a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood and corporate constitutional rights. You may sign the motion to amend at http://www.movetoamend.org

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