Give It A Rest (In Peace)

You’re not going to see this happen in these pages very often, a positive shout out to our mayor. It’s no secret we oppose almost everything he stands for. In our post on Tuesday, a commentor wondered if we’d be blaming Jack Layton’s death on Rob Ford. Actually, the thought hadn’t crossed our mind but thanks for planting that seed.

In truth, we were quite touched by the mayor’s response to the sad news. He genuinely seemed moved and upset. I mean, he didn’t immediately send out the graffiti police to wipe clean the chalk tribute that sprang up in Nathan Phillips Square.

That’s a joke.

Our mayor is not the most eloquent of politicians. He does not think well on his feet. Despite making a name for himself as a councillor, grandstanding in the media spotlight whenever and wherever he could find it, he has proven quite ill at ease in front of the cameras as mayor. So uncomfortable, it’s not even fun to watch.

So it was in his scrum a couple days ago, talking about Jack Layton. But there seemed to be genuine emotion behind his usual discomposure. The mayor appeared touched by the time he spent at council with Layton, disagreements and all. His response to reporters’ questions was heartfelt. He tried to score no political points and there wasn’t so much as a trace of partisanship in the words he spoke.

The same cannot be said about certain right wing columnists and pundits who shall remain nameless. (Hint: one defaces the pages of the National Post while another stitches letters together for the Sun.) Indignant at the ‘spectacle’ made of Layton’s death and the political posturing they saw in the letter written from his deathbed, they weren’t so much dancing on his grave as attempting to diminish his legacy and life spent in public service.

Heaven forbid an olive branch should be extended to an opponent upon their mortal exit. That’s the degree of destructive partisanship our political discourse has descended into. Hell, we’ve even jettisoned Miss Manners rules of etiquette where we’re instructed to say nothing at all if we don’t have something good to say.

I can detest someone’s politics without wishing them dead or denigrating them in death. At least, for a couple days. But beyond as well. I mean, what’s the point?

Ignore the tyrants and maniacs who’ve met their just reward. Dragging Mussolini’s corpse through the public square. Have at it. There’s a certain catharsis to that. I’m talking just your regular political foes and bête noire types.

I was living in California in 1994 when Richard Nixon died. On the day of his funeral a guy I was having dinner with suggested that we head down to Yorba Linda and put a stake through Tricky Dick’s heart, just to make sure he was dead. We laughed. It was said in private not splashed in newspaper pages and was really a sly political joke since Nixon had been written off as ‘dead’ a few times before and had been resurrected, bigger and badder than before. That’s a whole lot different than the petulant, foot stamping of Christie Bl—

Oops. I almost uttered the name.

There are politicians still alive who I loathe on a political level. Our Prime Minister. Our mayor. Former premier, Mike Harris. George W. Bush. The entire field of Republican presidential candidates. I wish none of them dead, however, nor would I yowl bitterly at any public outpouring of grief when they do die. OK, wait. Dick Cheney. No, no. Not even Dick Cheney. Whatever I may think of the man, he has a family, friends, supporters who would mourn him although I do think that’s purely hypothetical as I’m sure he’s immortal, bringing us the Evil through the ages. But if I’m wrong and Dick Cheney were to eventually die, I might breath a quiet sigh of relief to myself and give the respect owed to those who would grieve his passing.

That I even have to write that in response to the callousness shown in some conservative circles is startling. Since when was basic human decency extended only to those you agreed with? Leave your political views outside the cemetery gates. Try taking a cue in classiness from Mayor Rob Ford.

Yeah, I just wrote that.

submitted by Cityslikr

11 thoughts on “Give It A Rest (In Peace)

  1. We need to remember first and foremost that we are Canadian’s. We never used to be this divided and I believe it is the press and the political parties that are using this tactic to, sell newspapers and get votes. We need to get back to being the type of people that can agree to disagree and still go get a beer together. I believe we are seeing that with the passing of Jack Layton we are remembering our Canadian roots and the way it used to be before. I think the reason the Sun and the NP wrote those articles is because if they lose that partisanship speak, if will effect the way they sell newspapers, campaign and generally try and split the country into left and right. How about we leave those terms behind and become Canadians again…that would be the best way to honour Mr. Layton’s memory.

  2. So Tweedledum and his Brother Tweedledim are not all bad… just not very likeable. Too bad they are ending the war on cars and starting one on transit riders.

    Meanwhile, let’s petition the city to change Danforth Avenue to Layton Avenue to honour a beloved (if not perfect) city icon.

  3. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Fords are stupid”: Margaret Atwood comments on effect of save library campaign on Mayor Ford & co.

    You still have time to learn.

    • In the absense of an article, I am writing to myself.
      Ford credits Jack Layton with ‘teaching him everything he knows about City Hall’.
      REALLY why so partisan then?
      From last week’s post; the Ford Campaign portrayed a superman.
      In light of the FanExpo at the Convention Centre.
      I would liken Rob to Lex Luthor; inheriting the family business and like his (departed)father supporting cuts to services. Recently robbing Torontonians of 41 late night bus services and the Urban Affairs Library which is a block away from Roy Thomson Hall is slated to close in Sept.

      P.S. If I were a costumed character; I would dress causually and comb my hair a certain way to be Darien from “Sailor Moon”

      P.P.S. The CN tower & Niagara Falls will be lit NDP orange much to the chagrin of the cold hearted…

  4. Blatchford didn’t say she was glad Layton was dead; she just hated the mourning. There’s a difference. Besides, she was right. Layton’s letter was maudlin: any twelve-year-old could have written a better one. Judy Rebick said that Layton was out in front on every issue. What media attention it brought him, however. Why hasn’t the Layton family told us what kind of cancer he died from? Surely that information would have been helpful to those who are fighting that kind of cancer. By the way, I was touched by what Ford said about Layton helping him as a rookie. I found it the best and most honest depiction of Layton I’ve heard in a week.

  5. Blatchford wrote, re: Mr. Layton’s letter: “Rather, it’s remarkable because it shows what a canny, relentless, thoroughly ambitious fellow Mr. Layton was. Even on Saturday, two days before he died, he managed to keep a gimlet eye on all the campaigns to come.”

    I find it sad that she does not acknowledge nor can she see her own ambitious and relentless eye on winning the #1 Sceptic and Troll Award. Mr. Layton’s funeral hasn’t even happened yet, and she already has her canny eye on helping all conservative campaigns to come.

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