I have been wondering what it is about Rob Ford that’s been making me so angry. Maybe it’s obvious, to other people who are angry about Rob Ford, but I suspected I might just be hungry and tired. In the end, it turns out that wasn`t the the only reason for my sputtering rage. And it`s not just Ford I`m angry at.
I watched CBC`s Fifth Estate on the Ford fiasco and read a Globe and Mail story that described the bad behaviour of Toronto’s mayor, which has been not only bad but criminal and threatening and possibly murderous.I haven’t seen the video of him smoking crack. I don’t really need to… he has admitted to it; and that’s not what I am angry about. What angers me is his lying about his drug use to the people of his city, repeatedly, only to admit and say he was sorry for it when he was backed into a corner by the video evidence.
You might ask, what more do I expect? Nothing, from him. Least of all do i expect sincere contrition. But from the people he supposedly serves, I expect better. I would expect more outrage that Ford has lied to, hoodwinked, and treated them like inconsequential fools, instead of hearing they’re shaking their heads in dismay or even erecting billboards in his support reading “Ford = fiscal responsibility”. So if a Hitler-loving child pornographer balances his books, I guess he might be an acceptable future mayor?
Several people I know have a softer approach to Ford, pointing to his addiction as an illness. Denial, lies and cover-ups are apparently hallmarks of the brain disorder characterized by addictive behaviour, according to one expert interviewed about Ford’s psychological profile. That might be so, but I doubt that dishonesty is physiologically-based. Still, I could be wrong about that– what I am quite sure I am right about is that Ford knew he was lying and that he knew lying was wrong. If he was psychotic and thought by smoking crack and lying about it, that he would save the universe, I would grant that he was not responsible for his actions, but I don’t think that’s the case. If people are not outraged by the lies then maybe they could find it in themselves to be outraged by the second video to hit the news, showing Ford ranting about wanting to kill someone.
There is evidence that threats were made by people connected to organized crime as well as to Ford, against those in possession of the video of the mayor smoking crack; one young man who appeared in a photo with Ford outside an alleged crack house, Anthony Smith, was gunned down in a battle between a gangs that may have had connections to Ford; and known violent criminal and friend of Ford , Alexander Lisi is on trial for extortion, having tried to obtain the video from a friend of Smith’s who was wounded in the same gun battle that killed him. Records show that Lisi had many phone conversations with Ford on the day he tried to gain possession of that video.
All this may mean nothing, and it might mean something. Ford hasn’t been charged, tried or convicted yet, but the evidence for his criminality and reckless disregard for the welfare of other people seems to be mounting. What gets me more is that people might be willing to excuse the behaviour of a public figure and “leader” on the basis of his possible addiction and mental health issues. He may well have them, and he should get help for them, once he is willing to admit to them, and to take responsibility for the things he’s done under their influence and in order to cover them up, which I see as two distinct things.
But the fact is someone can be a bad ass, a psychopath and/or an entitled jerk, and have an addiction too– they are not mutually exclusive. According to the Fifth Estate, Ford was well-known for dealing drugs in high school, long before he became Mayor or before his sister came out as a heroin addict, which may have precipitated the decline in his behaviour. In other words, his criminality and bad-assery seems to have preceded his political career and likely his mental health issues.
A drug-addicted prostitute or a homeless crack addict doesn’t get the kind of “pass” that some people are dealing Ford. Ford would never have given them a pass either, although he may well have smoked up with them. And the hypocrisy in that is one thing that irks me, but the most important thing perhaps is that Ford must see himself as somehow entitled to the kind of indulgence he would not himself afford others who are less well- placed and powerful than he is. Which leads me to wonder what else in his personal and political life has been a sham and when will he be ready to acknowledge the harm he’s done and take responsibility for it? Because before he “moves on” as he hopes, he better make sure the crack house of his past is in order, that his misdeeds are bought and paid for, and that he acknowledges the price of addiction to himself, his family, his city and the tax payers he professes to care so much about. Otherwise, who can afford to give Rob Ford another chance?