Drive, He Said. And By ‘He’ I Mean God.

July 2, 2011

If you’re asking would I pay five dollars to get downtown quicker and not knock off 14 bicycle riders on the way down Queen Street, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

 — Councillor Doug Ford

There’s a term for the above quote. It’s called a false dichotomy. Either we build toll roads to increase car traffic or we accept knocking off cyclists as just part of doing business in Toronto. Our only two alternatives with nothing in between.

It is the Ford Era and reveals a deadly paucity of critical thinking. Immanis Cogitatio to those of us just slapping together some Latin phrasing to give the appearance of gravitas. No middle ground. No rational discourse. If we don’t do this, then the worst possible outcome will naturally follow.

How do you get through a single day with that mindset and not end up setting fire to something or digging yourself some kind of bunker to sit out the coming apocalypse? Never mind how you ever hope to build a city. A city, that is, not revolving exclusively around you and your needs.

It’s nice to know Doug Ford is willing to pay 5 bucks in order not to run over 14 cyclists. Even those on bicycles are worth $2.80 to the councillor, it would seem. So he’s not totally lacking in empathy although it would be interesting to know just how much he’d be willing to fork over before the cost-benefit ratio tips him toward wantonly running down anyone on a bicycle who gets in his way to and from work. Sorry about that, Lance Armstrong, but I ain’t paying $10 to use the toll road. Opting for vehicular manslaughter over highway robbery.

That the councillor even has some sort of equation for such a scenario, however, reveals his stunted, backward thinking. An immutable belief in the primacy of motorized vehicles, free from any and all evidence to the contrary. So it was, as it is, thus will it ever be. A static future that can never change. My daddy drove his car to work. His daddy drove his car to work. I will drive my car to work. My children will drive their car to work.

I wonder if Great Grandpappy Ford, happily ensconced as he was in his horse-and-buggy, thought similar thoughts when the horseless carriage appeared on the scene. Get them noisy contraptions off my corduroy roads, ya young scamps ya! Those ruts were made for my team and buggy!

But the possible damage wrought by the wider implications of such a narrow-minded, rigid perspective is truly dispiriting (not that the pile of dead and injured cyclists lying in the wake of Councillor Ford’s Escalade rampage is anything to sneeze at). No scenario aside from the one he believes to be true or valid can be imagined without every and all negative connotation attached. This is right because I think it is. You’re wrong because I don’t agree with it. The World According To Doug Ford.

Where everybody lives in a big house in the suburbs. And has a second house in Chicago. And a condo in Florida.

Where everybody drives a big car everywhere they go. And public transit is for the poor. And cycling is what children and left wing, health nut, pinko kooks do.

Where answers are as plain as the nose on your face. And if they’re not, well, you just haven’t asked the right question. And if you don’t know what the right question is maybe you’re just trying to make things complicated.

And making things complicated is what’s got this city in the mess Doug Ford thinks it’s in. Complicated questions cater to special interests. Special interests see things Doug Ford doesn’t see, and if Doug Ford doesn’t see them, they don’t exist. If they don’t exist, why bother catering to them? It only encourages them, encourages different ways of viewing the world. A world Doug Ford doesn’t understand or comprehend.

That is a scary, scary world.

contrarily submitted by Urban Sophisticat