Redemption’s A Life’s Work Not A Summer Vacation

Everybody loves a redemption story. Bad boy makes good. The down-and-outer turning his life around, rockyjust when everything seemed lost. The prodigal son.

It’s as old as the urge to tell tales to keep ourselves entertained in the cold night, huddled up inside the cave.

Think Oedipus Rex. Perhaps the greatest comeback story ever. Boy ordered to be put to death after an oracle warns that he will kill his father (the worst kind of son) but his mother cannot bring herself to do it (the best kind of mother). Instead, she orders a servant to slay the infant. (OK, maybe not the best kind of mother). The servant can’t do it either. (You really can find good help some days). So the servant just leaves the baby out on a mountain to die of exposure. (And other days you can’t). Saved by a good shepherd (shepherds are always good), oedipusrexthe little boy grows up to be a man and winds up triumphantly returning home after killing some old dude on the road and then he meets the woman of his dreams who he…

You know why everybody loves the redemptive narrative?

Because in real life, it so rarely happens. More often than not, you don’t get knocked down and get up again. At least, not to anywhere near where you were before. Loss tends to take its toll. Failure, especially of the spectacularly public kind, leaves a noticeable mark. Maybe not as drastic as, I don’t know, gouging out your own eyes but few walk away unscathed.

Redemption and deliverance tend to be hard won and small in scope. “Didn’t you used to be Mac Sledge? Yeah, I guess I was.” tendermerciesIf you’re lucky, you get to live to tell the tale.

And let’s face it. Rob Ford has been redeemed more than any one person deserves in any one lifetime. He has regularly tripped and fallen, stumbled over his own hubris, willful ignorance, disdain and dislike for almost everyone outside of his small cabal of associates, family included. And that’s just in the last 4 years! Born into a life of privilege (if not the kind of life most of us would want to live), he chose to abuse and exploit his advantage rather than use it to become a better person or make the world a better place around him.

His missteps and misconduct have never seemed to carry much repercussion or consequences. He’s actually been rewarded for being such a categorical failure. Isn’t it redemption enough that someone of Rob Ford’s rigid incuriosity and malevolent world view got to be mayor of Toronto? grandtheftautoHow much grace and forgiveness can fate bestow on one person?

Is that being too harsh on someone with substance abuse issues? Cut the guy some slack. Maybe this time he’ll turn things around, get his life in order, finally redeem himself.

Fuck that.

If Rob Ford actually gained even the slightest bit of self-awareness and the humility that would stem from that, he’d show up at his office at City Hall today and immediately announce his resignation from both the office and the campaign. He’d recognize all the harm he’s done, certificateofhumilityall the bullshit he’s spewed, the venomous misogynistic, racist, homophobic way in which he’s conducted his life, and realize, along with about 60% of us at this point, that he’s unfit to hold the office he was elected into.

Only if that were to happen would Rob Ford be at the point in the story where you might say, Well hey, he’s acknowledged his faults, the errors of his way. It took him some time to get there, burning a lot of bridges along the way, inflicting a lot of harm and damage. Some of which you never fix, you never get forgiven for. But, you know, maybe there is some hope for him after all. Let’s see what he does next.

You just know, though, that’s not how this is going to play out.

In all likelihood, Rob Ford, and his brother and family, all believe in their collective heart of hearts that he’s walked the rugged, rigorous road of redemption. He’s paid his dues. He took a leave of absence from the job he never really took that seriously in the first place, just pretendingand did what you have to do up in cottage country to look as if you might be contrite and a little bit shamed by your actions.

I’ve said sorry, folks. What more can I do? The past is the past. Let’s just move forward. Anything else?

We’ve heard it all before.

You don’t get to proclaim your own redemption. It’s not for you to bestow upon yourself. All you can do is accept the fact that you made a mess of things, try to clean it up as best you can and set out to be a better person. It’s up to others to decide what comes next.

Perhaps someday Rob Ford will genuinely find redemption. He’ll pick up the pieces of his broken life and put them back together in some discernible fashion. That should never include, however, re-assuming public office. There’s too much dirty water under that bridge, too much degenerate behaviour and misuse of power to ever have it restored. redemptionRob Ford displayed a degree of arrogance and contempt toward those who’d put their trust in him to a level you never dial back from, you never get a do-over for. That kind of record doesn’t get expunged.

Rob Ford will find redemption only when he’s humble enough to realize that and moves on to the next stage in his life, far away from the spotlight of elected office.

chidingly submitted by Cityslikr