Saturday, December 07, 2013

Smoking Crack

Should anyone be concerned that Rob Ford smoked crack and lied about it? Yes. And, for a whole bunch of reasons. There is, on a first and most important level, concerns about Mayor Ford's life because at least some of the behaviour in which he has been engaged is, quite simply, dangerous. On a second level, there is the issue of governance and whether or not Mayor Ford is fit to govern (and I don't mean in a moral sense but in a practical one: can he actually make the decisions that a mayor needs to make in his current condition?). There is also the issue of Toronto's public image. It has clearly taken a black eye from the soap opera that has become Toronto politics.

But, there is another reason voters should be concerned. The reason relates to why they voted for him in the first place. In fact, that is a question. Why did those of you who voted for Rob Ford … vote for him? Again, it is possible that there are a bunch of reasons but one of the big ones was his tax policies and his promise to end the "gravy train" at city hall. In fact, I heard an interview on CBC where a middle class voter basically said that everything else in the Rob Ford administration was a sideshow. He got a tax but and he was happy about that and so would vote for Ford again. In addition, of course, there is Ford's tough zero tolerance stance on crime, drugs, and gangs.

What those people who voted for Ford need to ask themselves is this: how did I get taken in by a crackhead? Is that too blunt? Sorry. These are not just rumours. The police investigation is fairly damning. Even putting the best spin on it -- the spin Ford, in fact, is offering -- you got taken in by a  drunk who occasionally smoked crack.

People who voted for Ford need to ask themselves some serious questions:

  • What does the fact that you were taken in by either a crackhead or a drunk say about your judgement?
  • What does the fact that you voted for a rank hypocrite say about your judgement?
  • Would offer Ford up as a role model for your children? If not … why would you vote for him? In other words, are you willing to set such a low bar for leadership that you'd actually pick someone who you would tell your children *not* to emulate? If so, what does that say about your conception of proper leadership?

Sound harsh? It should be because the election of Rob Ford was silly to begin with. Its now been made even sillier by virtue of the truth. People who voted for him were, in effect, duped by a con man and at least a good hunk of them (to judge by public opinion polls) are saying they will let themselves be duped again.

What about the line "at least I got my tax cut." In effect, this is the same as selling your vote. It is just a legal way of doing it. For the record, I'd argue that before we implement tax cuts, we need to think about the services they provide -- police, fire, EMT, etc, -- and whether or not we want those services but that is a discussion for another day. A failure to consider these things is a failure to consider policy, the public good, the effective functioning of the city, security, among other things. All of which are cast aside for a few bucks. Moreover, think about the message you are sending (say, to your kids): as long as you get a few extra bucks in your pocket you'll vote for a person and not look into his character, not consider whether or not he;'s a criminal. In fact, even knowing he's a criminal is OK … as long as you get your tax break (aka bribe).

Why be concerned about Rob Ford? Because of what it says about those people who voted for him.
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