The Rights of the Living-Challenged in America Today

A storm of recent debate has centered around the problems of the mobility-challenged, chronologically gifted, mentally special, estrogen inclined, and African-, Asian-, and Indigenous Americans. These debates, although most worthwhile, have overshadowed the plight of the single most oppressed group in America today: the dead, or as they prefer to be called, the living-challenged.

The living-challenged have next to no rights in America. "Dead people come from all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. Over 75% of all Americans who were once alive are living challenged," says Doctor Jackilyn Freeman, Ph.D., R.A., R.A., R.A., Si.S., B.O., O.M., B.A. Doctor Johannes Oberpfaffenhoffer, D.Ed., adds, "The U.S. Constitution never provides for the rights of the living-challenged. Except in certain progressive communities in the South, no dead person can vote. Nearly all holders of public office are alive." The government callously suspends all social security and medicare benefits to dead people. Despite the landmark civil rights victories of the 1950s and 1960s, 99% of all dead people still live in segregated neighborhoods. A recent survey found that nearly 85% of landlords would deny housing to a person simply because he or she is living-challenged. A living-supremacist landlord who asked to remain anonymous was quoted as saying, "I don't want none of these corpses stinkin' up my complex. They need to be kept in their place. You give 'em a place to stay in a living neighborhood, next year there'll be one trying to marry your daughter."

"More of the living devil's nonsense," says noted dead advocate Elijah Muhammed, now founder of the Black Death organization. "Even if we wanted to marry your daughter, the living man's courts wouldn't recognize it. Who put 'until death do we part' in the marriage vows? Who taught you that marriage only lasts until you admit the truth about yourself, that you are in fact dead?" Despite recent wrangling in Hawaii, no clear progress has been made: all fifty states still annul marriages in case of the death of one or both of the partners.

The appalling oppression of the living-challenged is due in part to the fact that the dead are almost completely unrepresented in American government. It remains a bald fact that almost every president found dead in office--including such legends as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy--was immediately drummed out, without a trial, a vote, or any chance to defend themselves. Ronald Reagan was America's only openly dead president. There are no openly dead congresspersons, although Senator Strom Thurmond (R, SC) is suspected by some to be a living-challenged person who has not yet "come out of the closet."

"The cultural influence of the living-challenged is incredible, but has widely been ignored," says renowned painter Mary Cassat. "Many of the greatest scholars, authors, composers, and artists of history are dead. I myself am dead." "All of the great masters are dead," adds Leonardo Da Vinci, noted artist, inventor, engineer, and scholar. "The simple fact is commonly overlooked because of the living man's fear and ignorance of my people." Dead Pride advocate Jerry X (who has chosen to no longer accept his "living name," Jerry Garcia) says "I think that I've always been living-challenged, and my band, The Grateful Dead, reflected the truth that I knew but was afraid to admit. Now that I have 'come out,' it's created a whole new perspective for me. The living man never really paid attention to the message of my music, he just took it, copied it, and ignored the influence of my people. The true innovators of rock and roll are all dead."

A recent survey found that a shocking 87% of the alive population in America actively avoids spending time near dead people, and are often extremely uncomfortable in their presence. "I think it's partly due to the unfavorable and unrealistic stereotypes of us presented in the movies," says noted dead psychologist Sigmund Freud. "Dead people are often presented as ravaging zombies; and, in fact, the actors hired to play us aren't even dead people."

In fact, although dead actors and directors are amongst the most talented and influential people in Hollywood, the film industry rarely if ever recognizes their contributions. "Legends such as John Wayne, James Dean, Orson Welles, and Stanley Kubrick are left to rot now that they are dead; no work, no Academy Awards, no acknowledgment," says the Reverend Jonathan Edwards. Edwards will be holding a rally at the 2000 Academy Awards to protest this scandalous lack of recognition.

"We don't want any special privileges;" adds the illustrious dead author Mark Twain, in a final note, "we just want the same inalienable rights as everyone else: Death, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."