Surely You Mean ‘Coup De Grace’?

November 18, 2013

For the record:

feedingthebeast

If during the special city council proceedings called to essentially demote Mayor Ford to little more than a disgraced figurehead you stand up on your soap box, whether that be the floor of council chambers, newspaper editorial pages or opinion column, your radio or TV talk show, various social media platforms, in order to say something to the effect of “I don’t want to use the term coup d’état but…”, too late, you already did.

You’ve fed the beast of unreason, still slouching around out there, defending the right of their duly elected mayor to do whatever the fuck it is he wants until the voters decide otherwise, maybe next October, maybe four Octobers after that, maybe four Octobers after that. Anything other than that? I don’t want to use a loaded term like coup d’état but…

On the flip side of that record:

coupchile

The first time I remember hearing somebody use coup d’état in a sentence was back in 1973 when the democratically elected president of Chile died during a successful military overthrow of the country’s government, precipitating 16 years of dictatorial rule where a couple thousand people were executed, nearly 30,000 imprisoned and tortured and another 30,00 fled the country.

So, you know. Quaint as it is to say in these days of empty slogans and catchphrases, words do matter. There’s nothing undemocratic being inflicted upon the people of Toronto in the stripping of powers from the mayor, even if, in the possible eventuality that the courts overturn council’s right to do what they’re doing. The legal system is part of our democratic process despite what defenders of Mayor Ford claimed back in the more innocent days of his conflict of interest case before, of course, they hailed the courts when they ultimately ruled in his favour.

(You still following? Because I’m not sure if I am.)

No. coupchile2The only profoundly anti-democratic impulse at work right now in the Real World Versus Rob Ford scheme of things is coming from those touting the notion that the only time a politician can be held accountable is at election time, by voters, in the voting booth. Or maybe when they’re led away in handcuffs by the police but only if they’re subsequently convicted in a court of law. But then again, the courts? Maybe if we got to elect our judges. We could then hold them accountable for the decisions they make…

(If you’re still following, cheers. Me? My head’s a-spinning.)

An election is a gateway, an invitation by a plurality of voters, to govern. There are rules, some written, some not, as to how an elected official must govern. There’s nothing that says, or even vaguely suggests, anywhere in the literature of democracy, Here you go, whatevs, just try not to get caught. See you in four years!

To claim democracy begins and ends with elections is ludicrous, made by those who backed, supported and continue to prop up a candidate who turned out to be unfit to hold office.coupchile1 It is a perverse notion from those possessing a love for the game of politics, campaigning, but without much of a stomach for actually governing. Team Ford won the Cup in 2010 and gets to hoist it triumphantly over their head until someone manages to take it from them by beating them in an election campaign. The earliest opportunity is October 27th, 2014.

People like the Fords believe life operates along the same principles as sports. You’re a winner until you lose, and you do everything in your power, by any means necessary, to make sure you never lose. What you do between matches, that interregnum we’ll call the off-season, is entirely irrelevant to them. They won, yo. They don’t have to explain their actions to you. You want accountability? Win the next election.

We need to ignore that narrative conceit, the only one the Fords have left. That’s not to say we neglect the necessary preparation to successfully engage and defeat the mayor in next year’s election if he somehow is miraculously still standing as a viable candidate. But there’s city business to attend to between now and then, and since the mayor, his brother and dwindling number of supporters on council clearly don’t give a flying fuck about that, somebody’s got to step into the leadership void.

sittingonthesidelines

If it isn’t obvious to everyone by now, the only way to do that is to officially keep Mayor Ford on the sidelines he’s already put himself on. There’s nothing undemocratic about removing the powers granted to an elected official who refuses to adhere to the obligations and responsibilities accompanying those powers. In fact, it would be undemocratic not to.

deposedly submitted by Cityslikr