Bank of America sit-in–in search of a bad guy

December 9, 2008

A commenter on this blog suggested I weigh in on the protest against Bank of America by laid-off workers from Republic Windows and Doors. From this article from Bloomberg, I see that Pres-elect Obama has weighed in on this as well as Gov Blagovjevich–who suddenly it appears has greater problems than these protesters.

Just a quick take–and it is related to the post about blame. These people are angry about the loss of jobs. I’m angry about this terrible economy. I’m angry about all the suffering going on. I want to blame someone. I really really want to pin this on someone and feel better about not just finding the cause but pinning them on it and then making them suffer. But is Bank of America to blame? Is Republic to blame? Who can be blamed?

The reaction to our sense of frustration and helplessness is to find someone to blame and focus our anger on them. In this case it happens to be Bank of America. It’s effective on the one hand because BofA is big and powerful and they are the ones who pulled the line of credit. But will it be effective? I don’t think so. Everyone knows that the problem is not BofA and their “heartless” lending policies. The problem with this mess is that it is too big for almost anyone to take the blame. Sure, some will blame “Wall Street”–but who the heck is that. Many are blaming Pres. Bush–an all too easy target these days. The very fact that others are so quick to blame the usual suspects makes this mostly a non-issue for BofA. I haven’t studied their response yet but if they are doing anything than expressing sympathy for and empathy with those who are so angry at them they are probably not responding well.

Lessons learned for crisis communicators? If you represent a big and powerful organization, you will get blamed–for something.

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