Sunday, March 18, 2012
Time to tear up your HRC card
For the first time in 40 years, I’m ashamed to be gay.
Last week the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), our country’s most well-funded national LGBT organization, named Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein to be its “national corporate spokesman for same-sex marriage.” No, you don’t have to read that sentence again. That’s what the Human Right Campaign has done with our donor trust. And at their annual NY dinner last week HRC gave Goldman Sachs its “Workplace Equality Innovation” award. The occasion prompted a well-deserved protest by the Queer Caucus of OWS & another here in LA from the Occupy LA Queer Affinity Group & GetEqual. (with protest signs like 'HRC & Goldman Sachs: Not the kind of marriage we're looking for!')
Who’s this Blankfein? How bad can he be?
Five years ago I began noticing, amid screaming TV headlines about the impending ruin of our financial system, my own stock & bond account, dropping wildly, and daily. When the carnage was over, I’d lost 20% of every dollar I’d spent a lifetime earning and saving.
I was so furious that I began a three year study of what was happening to my savings, and the savings of millions of other 99%ers in America.
What I found out terrified and depressed me. I learned that the big investment banks, in particular Goldman Sachs, had committed the biggest bank robbery in American history, scoring about one trillion dollars from middle class schmucks like me that had worked for a living.
Yes and the same Lloyd Blankfein was in charge of Goldman back in 2007, just as he is now. It’s blight on the American justice system that Blankfein is not serving life in prison. But it’s a horrible shock that gay & lesbian national leaders are honoring this man.
For those who haven’t read about Goldman Sachs as “the vampire squid” whose tentacles are wrapped around the world’s money supply, let me explain why everyone should be ashamed of our Human Rights Campaign, the national gay lobbying group based in Washington D.C.
Blankfein was a co-conspirator in the American banking scam that securitized the sub-prime home mortgages of millions of American’s who he knew could not afford their mortgage loans, but nevertheless he sold bundles of these bad mortgages to his own Goldman clients and millions of other trusting middle-class investors like you and me. Blankfein’s elite class of CEO bankers led the charge which eventually ushered in the Great Recession that’s also put many of my and your friends in the unemployment lines.
And in case you think, oh that was a long time ago, please note, Goldman and Blankfein himself are being sued almost weekly by some states' pension system, Teachers Retirement System (our political allies) and almost every state in the USA for "unethical practices and extreme greed, lying and cheating people out of their money, profiting from the misfortunes of others, and saving its own neck through political influence and bailouts."
And just this week - a former Goldman Sachs employee's NYTimes OpEd blew open the continuing 'rip-off culture' there.
That one man, or even an elite class of several dozen, could do damage of this magnitude to the entire western world certainly begs the question; what manner of financial systemic vampire is controlling us?
It also begs the question; what kind of LGBT organization is it that “slaps lipstick on this pig” and takes him in as a spokesperson? How can a Gay Equality organization give a position of honor to a man who is such a classic example of INequality that he was hauled before Congress to testify about his role in the great financial inequality stunt of the century?
This strange disconnect—that one of our own gay non-profits is so out of touch with the LGBTQ grassroots and the sense of national outrage that sparked the Occupy Wall Movement—is almost unbelievable. HRC’s Romneyesque example of tone deafness needs to be scrutinized by the LGBTQ grass roots. Many of us have long wondered, just who is running the national gay agenda and do they know what our queer lives are like here in the streets? Such a mortal sin demands a quick explanation from HRC. HOW COULD YOU?
And perhaps soon, a de-nomination of Blankfein as a spokesperson, by new incoming HRC Executive Director, Chad Griffin.
Better yet, put away your check book until they do.
Related stories; Matt Taibbi, “Lloyd Blankfein’s the Wrong Spokesman for Gay Rights” (Rolling Stone), & Andrew Brewer, Huffington Post’s Gay Voices.
Jeanne Cordova is a pioneer LGBT activist, journalist & author of "WHEN WE WERE OUTLAWS: A Memoir of Love & Revolution"