LAHONTAN VALLEY NEWS: Brothers bring awareness to corporate personhood

June 3, 2010
Steve Ranson

Minnesota brothers Laird and Robin Monahan are walking across the United States to warn citizens about corporations assuming more human characteristics in what may be considered a power grab of the Constitution

They arrived in Fallon earlier this week after beginning their journey in mid-May from San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. By following U.S. Highway 50, the Lincoln Highway, they hope to reach Washington, D.C. in mid to late-October.

The 69-year-old Laird and 67-year-old Robin said their disappointment occurred earlier this year on Jan. 21 when the U.S, Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Committee to allow corporations the same rights as people and to spend as much money as they want on candidates.

“I was devastated. It was like taking a shot in the gut,” said Laird, who spent his career as a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes. “It seemed to be the Constitution had been made into a fraud. To consider corporations as people was ridiculous to me.”

Both Laird and Robin said citizens need to be made aware of how corporations are gaining more power.

They said corporations, for example, play a key role in judges' elections because of campaign contributions.

Robin said turning corporations into personhood contradicts part of the Declaration of Independence … “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

To promote their cause, they joined Move to Amend, which is promoting a Constitutional amendment to eliminate corporate personhood. But that wasn't enough.

Robin said he and Laird decided they were tired of writing letters to their congressmen and writing blogs on the Internet and signing petitions that didn't produce results.

They then decided to walk across the country to spread their word and talk to anyone who will listen.

Although they had hoped others would walk with them and that they would be able to raise funds, those plans fell through. However, they were determined to walk.

With the blessing of their wives and families, Laird and Robin, both Vietnam veterans who served in the Navy, planned their trip and determined they would have to cover 22 to 25 miles each day. They decided to leapfrog in their walking. For example Laird would cover a mile or two, and then Robin would drive ahead, leave the car for his brother to drive ahead and then trudge on for one to two miles.

Although they are following U.S. Highway 50, Robin said they would leave the route to talk to groups or media.

“We're talking to quite a few people,” Robin said. “We're encouraging local participation by starting at the grassroots level to get a resolution to abolish corporate personhood.

He said local governments and schools can pass their own resolutions to limit the power of coronations.

Both men said they have received positive support from the people they have met.

Robin and Laird consider themselves as Independent voters, but they have a history of supporting conservative viewpoints. For example, Robin said he voted for Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, while Laird voted for Ross Perot and George W. Bush. They also hope to have the leadership of the tea Party movement join their cause.

“Do you want corporations to have more or less influence in our government?” Robin quizzed.

Knowing it's a remote possibility, Laird said he would like to see publicly funded elections.

“What really needs to happen is for the American people to rise up, get off their knees and say we've had enough and we're going to elect people to represent us,” Robin said. “It may take several elections, and maybe not in my lifetime, but I hope it does and I hope it happens soon that we'll have enough elected representatives to pass an amendment to the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.”

The progress of the Monahan's walk or other information can be found at They are also seeking donations or people who can provide them accommodations during their Odyssey.