Rob Ford And Those Baby Blues

June 19, 2010

Just a couple points I’d like to make about the pickle Rob Ford presently finds himself in before it, in all likelihood, fades into obscurity.

While Mr. Ford touts his accessibility to his constituents as proof that he is all for the “Little Guy”, I think maybe there needs to be a wall of privacy in place between our public officials and those they are elected to serve. No historian am I nor a scholar of early democratic principles but I’m pretty sure no one intended for our representatives to be at our beck and call 24/7. (Did the ancient Greeks who planted the roots of our political system even have a word for ‘24/7’?) 24/7 is great for those who come to our rescue when the furnace breaks in subzero weather or the water heater bursts but should we really expect that from those who hold elected office?

Mr. Ford relentlessly informs anyone who is listening that he’s fielded something like 4.73 billion phone calls during his time in office. Fine, that’s great I guess, although personally I don’t elect my councillor, MPP or MP in order to have someone whose ear I can bend whenever I get the notion. That’s what you people are for. I think there are other ways in which my needs can be met as a citizen without demanding the home phone number of my representatives.

There’s email, texting or simply setting up an old-fashioned face-to-face appointment during working hours. I don’t need a friend at City Hall. I need a diligent and principled public servant. That would go a long way to restoring faith in democracy.

Bringing me to the second and larger point of the issue. Rob Ford would not be in this predicament if he had never uttered the imbecilic and mean-spirited sentiment he did back in 2006. Arguing against the city spending $1.5 million for AIDS prevention, Ford contended that the disease was “very preventable. If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line.”

Well, it’s not the bottom line. In fact, the United Nations had stated that the majority of those who had contracted the disease were heterosexual non-drug users. So not only was the councillor incorrect in his assertion but it revealed him to be both intolerant and lacking so much as a tiny streak of empathy. The fact that just a month ago one of his campaign workers retweeted a missive that chided rival George Smitherman for “…attacking Ford for telling the truth about AIDS…” reveals the candidate has surrounded himself by those who still dwell in the darkness of ignorance and bigotry.

No racing off to make gestures of public penance and offers of assistance can undo that fact. It’s quagmire that will only lead to further intemperate outbursts, public gaffes and very serious questions about Rob Ford’s fitness to be mayor of this city.

chidingly submitted by UrbanSophisticat