Bees have had a rough go of it. They’re losing their habitats to climate change, they’re dying from chemicals and diseases, and they’re just generally going extinct. So, I’m sure they’re very excited that, in California, they’ve officially been awarded endangered species protection status as—fish. Based on this new legal precedent, and based on Americans suffering similar circumstances (though it’s our own fault) I would like to make the case for being legally considered rich—specifically being a member of America’s one percent.
First, I’ll backtrack since you’re probably asking: Bees aren’t fish? What? Where am I? Well, you’re in the United States of America, a country where doors are blamed for mass shootings so bees being fish actually shouldn’t sound that wild. This began when agriculture groups sued state wildlife officials for listing four bees as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The agriculture groups said CESA only protects endangered “native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant”—not endangered “insects.” But on Tuesday, a court in Sacramento said that the CESA’s Fish and Game Code actually defines “fish” pretty broadly and includes “wild fish, mollusks, crustaceans, invertebrates, and amphibians.” And that this code already protects land invertebrates. Therefore, bees can be considered invertebrates and be protected as an endangered species. Huzzah!
Now, bees do not have gills or fins and, most famously, can not swim or breathe underwater. Yet here they are, being fish and basking in the protections endangered fish are afforded. I do not have money or property, stocks or offshore accounts, and I have no knowledge of how I’d partake in illegal financial activities that would keep my money far and away from the IRS—but why should any of that stop me from being considered a member of the one percent here in the US of A? And being able to bask in the protections that being a one percent-er would afford me? Like buying power, buying influence, buying multiple politicians who will push to cancel student debt, push to codify Roe, or push for gun control legislation. Actually, maybe I’ll just buy everyone’s fucking guns myself.
As of 2021, a family in the US has to make $597,815 a year to be considered part of the one percent, according to SmartAsset. (To be clear this is the national average, you have to make more to be a one percent-er in Connecticut and less to be a one percent-er in Virginia. Internationally is obviously an entirely different scale.) I do not make $597,815 a year. Not even close. Not even like “according to my 40-year plan” close. (I don’t have a 40-year plan. The world will have ended by then!) BUT I do have a five in my bank balance, as well as a couple of ones. Some days I have a seven, and it’s hard to believe but I have spotted a few nines every now and then. If California can look at a bee and say, “Hey that’s a fish, and deserves to be protected as such,” why shouldn’t the US look at me, a woman of a modest income, and say “Wow, she’s a rich, and deserves to influence the politics of this country as such.”
This is my case. This is my journey. And this is absolutely what I’m meant to do with my life. If you’re a lawyer interested in working with me on this, I’d love to hear from you. Together, we can truly make a real difference. Bees are proof that in America—and with the right legal team—we have the power to be anything we want. Even if it’s something we’re literally not.