Somebody Needs A Hug

March 17, 2013

guestcommentary

Call me Hackistan.

Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — without need of much money in my purse and nothing particularly to interest me Down South, I cut loose from a relatively stable — if not monotonous existence in deepest Southern Ontario.

My story is a little more nuanced than a paraphrase of two Moby Dick paragraphs, but I didn’t arrive in the state of mind called Hackistan by making it all about me.mobydick

This is all about here, and now, and the place we all find ourselves in. It is most assuredly not a state of mind. It is Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Earth.

So right now, that’s Toronto in my body (and probably yours), though my state of mind, infuriatingly, remains firmly in Hackistan. Come visit sometime. Set a spell. I’ll make tea.

This meat world of Toronto (the Good, to some) is a decidedly nasty place these days, what with the meanness, the skintiness, the OMFG can you believe what he did THIS time?, the Little Ginnies and the Subways Subways Subways and the Burning Rage of a 1,000 Nuziatas, and the…citybuildingwell, I could go on.

No one, not anyone in this town seems to be feeling the love, and that goes right from the top to the bottom.

On Thursday Royson James offered up a rather provocatively headlined piece to that effect — namely, that The Mayor Toronto Needs Will Start by Loving Us.

Despite the awesome headline, he never comes out and says what I think a lot of Torontonians feel — that our Mayor really doesn’t like this city very much, and if he had his way, he’d much rather be elsewhere.

“We are not ‘taxpayers’ only,” James writes. “Everything does not begin and end with the desire to reduce government and taxes…We love our cars but have not sold out our neighbourhoods to the insatiable appetite for more highways…It would be good if our mayor sees this, understands the delicate forces that sustain this incredible balance, and fight to preserve it.”

Royson clearly knows his way around Hackistan. He gives voice to what many feel, but spares himself the gears he’d inevitably have ground if he came out and said the Mayor doesn’t love Toronto. After 2.5 years of Ford Toronto, we can pretty confidently predict how that’d go.angryvoters

“How DARE you say the Mayor hates Toronto! You hate Toronto, you commie!”

Comment boards would light up, hashtags would trend after getting bombarded with angry denunciations and counter-denunciations. Pornbots would flood in, someone will inevitably accuse Royson and the Star of hating the Mayor, ‘Haters gotta hate’ will most certainly appear in the #topoli hashtag, Doug Ford would be dutifully removed from his hyperbaric chamber two days before his scheduled maintenance prior to his Sunday radio program to talk about how hurt his little brother’s feelings were, then make a cheap shot about Rob’s weight, and so on…

So snaps to Royson for saying it without actually saying it. Bigger snaps for helpfully suggesting people start thinking about what they’d like to see in a Mayor.

There’s good reason for folks to start doing so, above and beyond the fact that we’re closing in the campaign period. Simply put, he may hate us and lots of us may hate him, but the Mayor has a base, and more importantly a vision.

Granted, it’s a narrow, reductionist and often nasty vision, but it’s something for narrow, reductionist and often nasty people to hang their hats on. areyoukiddingmeIn the absence of a compelling alternative, others will hang their hats on it as well.

Loving this city is a good starting-off point. Putting forward ways to make the city we love even more loveable is better.

The rumblings have begun. Behind the scenes, the Mayoral jockeying is already underway, but the ideas need to start getting fleshed out in the sunlight, so that broad, expansive and nice people (and the people who love them) have a chance to see what those ideas are and who is putting them forward.

The incumbent is in perpetual campaign mode. He also has the advantage of incumbency. If articulating a broad, expansive and nice vision takes a back seat in October 2014 and the election becomes a mere Roberendum, then chalk up another advantage for the Mayor.

embracethelove

And that’s something even he would love.

lovingly submitted by Hackistan