His Honour’s Sour Grapes

So the Mayor Rob Ford era has officially begun, and for all those who picked ‘Decorously’ or ‘Graciously’ in the How Will Rob Ford Respond To Having The Chain Of Office Hung Around His Neck office pool, pay up, motherfuckers.

The mayor used the solemn occasion of his investiture to invite one of his heroes, noted Mississaugan urbanist and sartorial flamboyer, Don Cherry, to chain him and kick off the proceedings. Mr. Cherry, in turn, used his invite, as writer Jonathan Goldsbie noted, as “…mostly just an attack on the Globe’s TV critic.” John Doyle, that is, and his article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail. The mayor then followed with an utterly uninspiring speech, full of references to taxpayers and customer service, more befitting (as we have noted numerous times previously) a Walmart manager’s pep talk to his employees just before the grand opening than a new mayor addressing the inaugural council meeting of the country’s largest city. Then some quick business was done like voting in the mayor’s all-male, all-right wing executive committee before the gavel came down to adjourn the proceedings until the real fireworks being tomorrow.

We’re now through the looking-glass here, people. Our new mayor, well-to-do through an inherited family business, speaks for ‘the little guy’. Mr. Cherry, a well-to-do sports commentator, lashes out and ‘artsy, left wing kooks’ and thinks “It’s time for some lunch pail, blue-collar people.” All pronounced while wearing an embroidered pink blazer that would make a geisha blush and his dapper Tom Wolfe high collar. Both men preach the neo-conservative gospel of small government (except for police and military, natch), and both have done alright for themselves, pocketing their fair share of government largesse.

And somehow, pinkos are the bad guys. We left leaning, bike riding, oh-so-privileged, downtown elites, bereft of the common touch and without our finger on the pulse of real Torontonians. We don’t understand the plight of the working people. The mayor does because he employs 350 of them in Toronto, New Jersey and Chicago. Don Cherry talks to millions of them directly through the camera, for a whole 8 minutes every Saturday night. Regular Joes, the two of them. Full fledged members of the lumpen proletariat, they is.

You know what? I say, fuck that. Much discussion has gone on since the new mayor’s been sworn in about how those standing in opposition to him should react. Take the high road. Don’t take the bait. Take a pill and chill-ax. The world’s not coming to an end because the likes of Don Cherry brought his schtick live to City Hall chambers.

All true but we’ve seen this movie before and it never, ever turns out well.

Every time a right wing populist is elected, they claim a ‘mandate’ (sometimes even from as on high as heaven itself) and immediately take the offensive, declaring a state of unilateralism. It’s My Way Or The Highway. You’re Either With Us Or A’gin Us. All Hail And Bow Down Before Me, Minions.

We’ve watched it for the past 4 years or so in Ottawa. A minority (A Minority!) Conservative government has browbeaten the opposition into simpering obsequiousness, giving way on almost every important issue that has emerged. Even the stands they’ve managed to take like on the long gun registry have tied them into paroxysms of soul-wrenching angst, leaving them to look defeated in the face of victory.

It’s a tactical strike adopted from right wingers in the States. George W. pulled it off masterfully throughout his term in office. The Tea Party led Republican congress is following suit. Not even sworn in yet and they have a Democratic President turning on his base. To seek bipartisanship where none is on offer doesn’t make you look evenhanded, open-minded or apolitically above the fray. It makes you look weak, unprincipled and unfit to hold public office.

Now comes Rob Ford who has not made one conciliatory gesture to his opponents since being elect mayor. His executive committee is exclusively right-wing, inner suburban (or from wards that Ford won) and male. He’s been blowing smoke about his power to end Transit City, going as far to say that council never voted about Transit City (it did), so it doesn’t have to be consulted to terminate it. The voters gave him a mandate, you see. Normal democratic principles no longer apply.

Bringing in Don Cherry to introduce him was just another aggressively defiant gesture by Ford. To all those who disdainfully dismiss the outrage that greeted Grapes’ council speech as unimportant, much ado about nothing, an overblown sticks and stones scenario, not worth the media attention, well, you’re diminishing the symbolism of it. “You never know what he’s going to say,” shrugged our mayor about Cherry’s speech. Not the exact words maybe but the intent was going to surprise no one. It was a big ol’ fuck you to anyone and everyone who doesn’t think exactly like the mayor and Don Cherry, pinkos or not.

Imagine if David Miller, re-elected with a larger percentage of the popular vote for his 2nd term, had proclaimed a ‘mandate’ and brought in, say, Naomi Klein to introduce him. She proceeds to say something to the effect of: Eat it, corporate right wing shills. Not political? Unimportant and beside the point? I don’t think so.

Mayor Rob Ford has come out of the gate with no intention of making nice, seeking compromise or trying to find the middle ground with his opponents. Why is the onus on them to reach out? It’s not obstructionist to stand up for your principles and beliefs. It’s called democracy. In a democracy, winning an election is just the 1st step. It doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want and everyone else has to go along, no matter how much right wingers would like to believe that.

helpfully submitted by Cityslikr

7 Responses to His Honour’s Sour Grapes

  1. Peter MacQuarie says:

    “It’s not obstructionist to stand up for your principles and beliefs. It’s called democracy.”

    Who’s going to do that – it’s hard to discern what many councillors stand for, other than loyalty to “Ward politics” where principles and beliefs take a back seat.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      My oh my. Aren’t you the jaded cynic. We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke wonder why you even bother following along. Just curl up into your nihilistic ball and watch Dancing With The Stars.

      Having attended council meeting today, I am confident saying that there are many principled councillors working hard for us and this city. Even ones we don’t agree with politically. Your defeatist attitude is an easy out.

      • Peter MacQuarie says:

        I bet you would prefer me not to comment on your articles.

        I watched the Council in action yesterday and your post proves how little you know of what ails it. Right over your head, I’d say. I suspect you took all the politicking as effective representation. No wonder you thought DM and his cronies did a good job, you’re an inteffectualist.

        I think Josh Coll was the only one I heard making any sense. And he only rose to see if he could get the likes of Mihevc and Vaughan unstuck and let the whole thing move on. Unlike you, he seems to have some degree of political accumen.

  2. Paul says:

    God, you are a pompous troll. The authors of this blog are very kind to let you be a continuing nuisance on their site.

    I had a bit of a chuckle last night imagining how frustrated his Fordship is going to be, having to actually pay attention and understand everything that he’s ignored over the last ten years, from budgets to rules of order. Someone should set up a pool to bet on the date of his first public meltdown.

  3. Peter MacQuarie says:

    It seems to all go right over your head too Paul. I wouldn’t call them “kind” but it has surprised me too that AFUITBS supports free speech. Let’s see how long they maintain that pretence.

    I agree with you on RF, he’s way out of his depth. However, still no reason for being rude or crude. I leave that to school kids, right wingers and inteffectualists.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      You are so ADORABLE! Wrapping your incapacitating obtuseness in a sheen of erudition and pride in coming up with clever made-up words. Inteffectualists (we hope you’ve trademarked that) will never get tired.

      Nor would we ever think of infringing on your free speech here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke. If we stopped you from commenting, it would only add to your overweening sense of self-importance and might cause you to think that you’re actually adding anything of value to the debate. ‘They’ve banned me! I must be dangerous!’ we can hear you telling your imaginary friends down in your basement, Rupert Pupkin-style. It would be like kicking a puppy who just wants to keep humping your leg.

      That’d be just mean.

  4. Peter MacQuarie says:

    I think you be better disposed to me if I wrote in song lyrics (and not necessarily my own) like some of the sycophants who come here. You only like “clever” people, right? There’s no room in your TO for lesser beings. You probably think there’s too many “ordinary” people voting these days. They don’t deserve a chance to govern. According to you, it shouldn’t matter what the people want, they should only get what clever people like you, DM and his cronies believe they deserve.

    Yes, you are mean and small-minded. Have you tried getting a job, maybe making a bigger contribution to society? Get out more and meet ordinary folk, maybe even take a few trips out of downtown Toronto?

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