OP-ED: GM’S Corporate Humanity Confused?

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

The Supreme Court not long ago really did determine that corporations are/were people for purposes of campaign contributions and other matters.  Now, no matter how you or I might feel about that decision, it remains the law of the land.  And, logic suggests, even  insists, if an entity is really human, it must be subject to the laws that govern all other humans.

For example, should you or I do something that harms or even kills other human beings and keeps doing it, fully aware the injuries are taking place, in most cases that would send some cops to our offices or homes, put some handcuffs on us and tell us our rights under the Constitution as they give us a free ride to the local pokey.

Comes now -- actually for some weeks -- some hearings before the United States Congress that bring out the revelations that one of the nation’s biggest corporations, the one that should be  paying dividends to American taxpayers who bailed it out of bankruptcy…that outfit, human by Supreme Court decisions, not only has been responsible for at least 13 deaths but actually knew it had occurred and why…and kept it all to itself.

If you, dear reader, or I, had been found out like this, you know well where we would be and how fast.

But not General Motors!

Their biggest defense seems to be that they’ve fired a bunch of people who should have taken care of the matters that could have saved a lot of lives.

But wait a minute, if GM is a person, have not denied the facts about what led to the deaths of more innocents than most on  most Death Rows committed, why is this company and its ring leaders free to roam the streets and bars of America? 

Worse:  why are none of the major muckrakers of journalism failing even to ask the question?  Still worse:  why are none of the members of the Congressional Committee investigating this stuff asking those questions either?

In some circles, we have what might be called a “conundrum.”

What a great sounding term usually suggesting the people who are supposed to know do not know what to do, if only because GM is such a big “person” and has tons of money you and I tossed at them when they were going down the tubes…or maybe it’s the cleverness of its newly hired PR  firm that’s helping them dodge being hauled into jail.

While the Supreme Court declared this “person” has had to come up with a reported $35 million “fine” for failing to report federal regulators what it knew , do you think you or I, if we had the bucks, could simply  pay the  federal piper, wipe our brow and move on?

Fact:  GM's actions resulted in at least 13 deaths, they knew about it, failed to address that reality to look as if they cared, and in most books, that is either murder or manslaughter, and the corpora….uh…person must stand trial for such actions…or inactions.

Media types who have led the smear jobs on both the President and the army guy he got freed through a questionable , perhaps illegal, deal with the Taliban, cannot seem to find  a few moments to question how and why GM isn’t being dragged before  a criminal court.

The prisoner-Taliban story, while another subject altogether, also features allegations that soldiers trying to find the ultimately freed GI, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, were killed in their valiant efforts to effect his rescue.  Seems to this writer at least twice the number were killed while GM twiddled its mechanical thumbs before spending a few pennies per afflicted auto.

And now, while an array of political types from both parties are getting media exposure expressing judgments about the ways and means of the soldier release in exchange for letting some really bad Talibans go home, not one has suggested we should also care about the men and women who died because a corporate person named GM failed to invest a few cents per victim’s car to prevent those disasters and kept the truth to themselves.

The corniest TV police dramas have cops and lawyers who know what to do; why has Congress failed to do it?

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Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including huntingtonnews.net. Honick can be reached at joehonick@gmail.com.

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