I don’t often pay attention to the news for the very reasons that the Rob Ford (Mayor of Toronto) scandal has demonstrated. It is often sensationalistic, focusing only on the most ratings worthy “facts,” you get one side of the story and that side may not be based in fact but merely on rumour and conjecture, and it points out things to us which should be readily obvious.
What, you’re all surprised to find out that a politician is corrupt? And a liar, and a roguish, cheating scalawag?
The question you must ask yourselves is not why Rob Ford did what he did, or how he got away with it so long, but rather, where have YOU been all this time? This isn’t the first scandalous thing any politician (or even Rob Ford himself) has done. It will NOT be the last. No, instead you must ask yourselves why YOU continue to be surprised. Why YOU keep electing people like this into office. Why YOU never do background checks on the people you are effectively hiring to work for you (as most employers would do with their new hires). And why YOU never hold those people accountable to the fullest extent of the law and governing legislation. Essentially, why YOU don’t fire their asses.
Accountability is two-fold. As much as Rob Ford must answer for his mistakes, we and others like us in Toronto must also answer for electing him into office, and allowing him to stay. After all, according to the journalists and reporters telling the story, we are all incensed and outraged at Ford’s conduct. Much the same as the people who elected the last four mayors into office in Montreal, the last two of which have had to resign under allegations of corruption. So why is he still in office?
It’s because of YOU.
When Rob Ford denied ever smoking crack (along with the other reprehensible things he’s done which have been documented as far back as 1987 or so), despite the overwhelming evidence against him, people believed him and took him at his word. When he recently admitted that he did, in fact, smoke crack while in a “drunken stupor,” his approval rating shot through the roof.
While I am a firm believer in maintaining that, in all fairness, we must remember that our politicians are subject to the same frailties as ourselves, what then, does it say about each of us not striving to avoid making the same mistakes when we continue to enable a person who is clearly incapable of making sound, rational decisions? Furthermore, he will likely get re-elected as Mayor of Toronto and people will base this on his “honesty” and “candidness” about his demons.
As with Bill Clinton’s ignominious affair with Monica Lewinsky, I care little for Rob Ford’s demons. I care only that they don’t impact his ability to do the job for which he has been elected and entrusted. However, crack being what it is, it is obvious that it will hamper his judgment not only as it relates to his job, but obviously his decision-making skills in all facets of his life. Rather than judge Rob Ford and tut-tut him for being a reprobate, and then piously forgive him for being “human,” we need to look at our own standards of what qualifies a person to do a particular job, and to what standards we will hold them. We should also, and perhaps more importantly consider to what standards we should hold ourselves were it us doing the same job. Perhaps then we might end up with more honest and forthcoming politicians. But I doubt it. Human nature is a fickle thing, after all.
UPDATE December 4, 2013: See what I mean? http://sports.ca.msn.com/top-stories/rob-ford-to-talk-nfl-on-washington-radio-station-1