“How are things in the world of finance?” Admiral Boom calls to a passing George Banks. The bland answer of fine as everything is good with the pound sterling assures the seaman that everyone is doing their job properly. This may be a throwaway scene from Mary Poppins, but it captures an anxiety I’ve been experiencing for some time now. Admiral Boom doesn’t have to be an expert in finance—he knows that Banks and his ilk are taking care of that so that he can oversee his household, keeping it ship-shape. With the shenanigans of the Republican Party, however, all of us—bankers, seafarers, editors, it doesn’t matter—have to become experts in politics. Why? Politicians can no longer be trusted to do their jobs. Corruption is so rife that they saw no problem with Donald Trump (“How are things in the world of finance?”) being elected.
The internet has given people the idea that they know more than they do. If you read enough you soon realize just how little you actually know, and that humility (note, Mr. Trump) is the only proper response. Now we have people all jazzed on the idea that you can express your personal hatreds and be rude to others because, well, that’s what 45 did. Now we all have to learn about what schemes (and they are schemes) the Republican Party is up to at all times to try actually to steal power. Come on folks, gerrymandering is a blatant attempt to game the voting system, as is the retention of the electoral college. And the filibuster.
Sure, voters should be informed. We are responsible for gathering facts, and not alternative facts, before we head to the polls. Beyond that we used to be able to trust politicians to do their jobs. Yes, there was always corruption—power inevitably leads to corruption—but there were checks and balances. Those checks and balances are gone. Now instead of keeping his house Bristol fashion, Admiral Boom must spend hours a day trying to sort out lies handed out like candy on Halloween, trying to figure out what is the truth and what is republicanism. Don’t be listening for that boom on the dot anymore. Mr. Binnacle is too busy trying to memorize the names of everyone running for the school board who are anti-masker, anti-vaxxers who stand for Trump and his original stolen election. How are things in the world of finance? How can we ever possibly know since we now all have to spend our time back in civics class?