According to the New York Times Friday, October 22, over 200 candidates around the country have mentioned Wall Street or the financial industry in their campaign ads to portray exactly what they believe is wrong with America. The front–page article in yesterday’s Times discusses how campaign ads display corporate characters drinking cocktails or smoking cigars and bankers looking smug as they walk the streets of Manhattan.
The article points out how the portrayal of New York City has changed since 9/11/01 when it was considered a symbol of courage and patriotism in fighting the war against terrorism.
It is obvious that the image of New York City as a greed-driven hub of finance that has significantly damaged the country has taken hold across the rest of America.
Americans, who now are living in houses that, in many cases, are worth less than what they owe, or who have lost jobs, or a substantial amount of retirement savings in the econocmic downturn are angry and looking to blame the culprits responsible for the mess.
In the minds of many angry voters, the culpability goes back to the source of power and finance, Wall Street and shrewd politicians are tuning in to this anger and using it as a campaign strategy.
The image of Gordon Gekko and the recent release of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” only adds to the popular cultural idea of New York City as the capital of unrestrained greed.
Even though, according to the article, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the city by saying that these are stereotypes both inaccurate and unfair, that most financial industry workers are actually only middle class, this defense is no longer holding up in the mind of the average American.
Americans want answers to how the economic crisis unfolded, causing a financial meltdown in slow motion, causing great stress to millions of us. Where are the investigations into financial wrongdoing? And why isn’t anybody naming names?
It’s no surprise then, that clever politicians are using this opportunity to trash the Big Apple and it is playing well in towns and cities all across America.