In popular culture Wall Street equals Republican, even though we have known for some time that Wall Street contributes heavily to the pro-corporate elements in both parties. That's because both parties have advanced an agenda that has seen the wealth of the richest corporations and individuals grow -- while the rest of the country faces higher taxes, fewer job opportunities, foreclosure, and poverty.
The Supreme Court has expanded the voice of Wall Street and the richest in America. The Court has ruled that money is speech and have allowed a handful of billionaires to drown out the voices of millions of American citizens. If you wonder why some changes happen so quickly look no further than who is funding it and at what level.
The Wall Streeters who wrecked our economy are not the same people who paid income tax at 90 percent rates in the 1950's and 60's. Gross amounts of money have given them the hubris to remake the world as they please.
In a press statement released today, Garden State Equality directly confirmed the relationship between some of the worst players on Wall Street and the LGBT movement. The statement called on "allies of LGBT equality to refrain from providing funds to the campaigns of US Congressmen Scott Garrett and Chris Smith." And it goes on to name some of "companies considered to be strong supporters of the LGBT community" -- including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup -- a catalog of the sins of each would be very long indeed.
According to Garden State Equality's executive director, the action that prompted this request of Wall Street was the Congressmen's support for legislation called "the First Amendment Defense Act". In Garden State Equality's release, this legislation is described as allowing discrimination against "LGBT people,especially those in same sex marriages." That is one way of looking at it.
On the other hand, the Congressmen would probably argue that the legislation is needed to protect people of conscience from being forced to participate in other people's ceremonies or celebrations -- especially when such participation would constitute an abrogation of a deeply held religious belief. I'm not necessarily arguing for or against the First Amendment Defense Act, but I do find it curious that Garden State Equality doesn't put forward their own legislation that recognizes motivation (as do "hate crimes") -- addressing discrimination for its own sake, while protecting religious dissent and the right of every American to speak his or her own mind.
I also find it mildly amusing that an organization like Garden State Equality would adopt such a censorious tone towards Congressman Garrett and Congressman Smith. After all, this is the same organization that bragged about hiring someone who set-up transgender "stings" on homeless shelters -- even going so far as to sue a homeless shelter that wouldn't comply. Now I ask you, what kind of people target and sue homeless shelters?
Sure, I understand that someone with a penis may self-identify as a woman. I get that. But why must that person's perception trump the perception of the many homeless women -- largely African-American and Hispanic -- who come from cultures that value modesty? They see what they see and they see a penis. Of course, their sin is being poor and homeless. There is no greater sin in America today. They don't count. The group that wants to dictate who they will shower with has rich backers. The rich get their way and the poor must accept that their world will be re-ordered. This is America now.
Instead of being censorious of the efforts of Congressmen Garrett and Smith, perhaps Garden State Equality will work with the Congressmen to find a way to address wanton discrimination, while preserving freedom of conscience. Let us hope so.
Since 1991, Bill Winkler has provided research for more than 400 candidates. These have included candidates for Governor, U.S. Senate and Congress – as well as state and local races – and include studies for the Republican National Committee, Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, Republican Governors’ Association, Republican Attorneys General Association, and over two dozen Republican State Committees