Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Six thoughts about the Rob Ford disaster

I’ve resisted adding to the flood of words about Rob Ford. But no more. Here are six thoughts.
First, this is sad. Ford, as a human being, is a mess and any compassionate person should feel empathy watching him struggle. Especially because he seems to have no one in his life to say ‘I care about you, and you have to stop this.’
Second, Ford’s hypocrisy is appalling. A month ago, a photo emerged of a Toronto employee with his head on his desk, apparently asleep. Ford wanted the employee and his manager fired if he was sleeping. Not suspended, or disciplined. Fired. 
But he uses illegal drugs and shows up at the workplace staggering drunk and violent, yet feels it is fine to keep his job. Ford supports tough-on-crime policies and harsh penalties for drug use - but not for himself. It is entitlement and ignorance gone mad.
Third, the jokes about Ford and the obsession with crack suggest a certain collective eagerness to forget that his problem is alcohol. Yes, crack is a reckless drug to use, and being in a drunken stupour is not a great defence. 
But the evidence suggests Ford’s problem is alcohol. 
Maybe we are in collective denial. In B.C., in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, we spent $986 per adult on alcohol, at the LDB price. That’s about 2.5 litres a week per adult of alcohol of all kinds. Many people aren’t drinking at all, of course, which means others are drinking much more.
Fourth, the political posturing was ugly. People in every walk of life struggle with substance abuse, addiction and self-destructive behaviour. It’s patently stupid to claim people of any political stripe have a monopoly on these problems. 
Fifth, this has not been, overall, a great time for the media. The Toronto Star has done fine and difficult work on the story. The Globe and Mail as well. 
But there has been so much rubbish written, from pieces arguing that this is what happens when you give people who live in suburbs the right to vote to columns suggesting the public doesn’t really need to know more about Rob Ford’s problems.
And sixth, this has been a worse time for political service and public life. Rob Ford is reckless, irresponsible and a liar. He has no sense of accountability, or honesty. Yet he is the mayor.
What are young people supposed to conclude from this ugly spectacle? They would be kicked out of their high schools in a flash for much smaller offences, but Ford is above such accountability, and still has his defenders. 
The rules only apply to people outside the club. 
Which is ironic, given that Rob Ford has always portrayed himself as one of those outsiders. Until he needed to claim the privileges of power.

6 comments:

nick said...

Well said, Paul. The whole thing is a testament to how easily the conversation can be denigrated into a "reality" show. The man needs to get help, and the conversation needs to move on to the issues that will, at best, burden, and at worst, damage, my young son when he is an adult and inherits the mess we have made.

Anonymous said...

As well,well said, Paul. This person needs help

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

Well said - problem is this is causing a huge issue with people in recovery - every where you turn it is about drug abuse at the moment and is sending all these kids into crisis. He may lose his job - but will he end up in jail? lose his license? probably not. but our kids??
no matter his drug of choice - his actions are exactly that of an addict - deny and lie.

Shelley Wilson said...

I am increasingly convinced Rob Ford is quite enjoying his notoriety (to put it mildly). He calls a presser almost every day, well aware the "will he resign" speculation will go mad, and throngs of reporters will gather outside his office, only to come out and say "sorry, but (Ford Nation message box) and I'm not going anywhere." Clearly this is working for him.

Mike Summers said...

All the more reason that voters need DIRECT DEMOCRACY to ensure that politicians of all stripes, are maintained and controlled.
But voters need ULTIMATE CONTROL.