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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ford Nation

I confess that I am unable to stop watching the Rob Ford saga unfold on the screen. Each time, I open the papers, turn on the news, watch a talk show; he is there, centre stage and larger than life. Yesterday, I watched the clip of him running full speed in the city council, into an elderly lady whom he knocked down, in order to help his brother out in an "altercation". Kindergarteners are taught not to run in the classroom, just to avoid such incidents. Our Mayor apparently also missed out on the class on "indoor voice" vs "outdoor voice".

I sat transfixed as Peter Mansbridge interviewed the two Ford brothers on CBC. My twelve- year-old was interested and watched as well. I was horrified to hear the Mayor trying to make the case that everyone drinks and drives. His statement was,"All of us have done this - whoever has a licence." What kind of message does this send to our kids and the people in general across our city? Should we all drink and drive? Perhaps, the police this holiday season should use this, as their posted advice to all drivers, "Go ahead, drink and drive. After all, you have a licence!" He was making the case that it is okay to have a few drinks and drive but we all know that Mr. Ford used to have more than just a few drinks. Yes, we all know drinkers who insist that they are not drunk and can drive even after more than just a few but is this behaviour that we should be encouraging or dismissing as normal?

Actually, it might shock Rob Ford but I haven't ever had a drink and put myself behind the steering wheel and I am sure, I am not the only one in this city who has not (I hope!). I also haven't ever been inebriated to the point that I "black out", nor have I ever smoked pot or cocaine. It seemed Mr.Ford was trying to suggest that these are relatively normal behaviours that people indulge in while letting down their hair "on the weekend". His exact words were, "there's a lot of people who have done what I have done." He implied that other people on the council also behave this way. Really, is this a criterion for getting elected?

What shocked me even more, was the two brothers suggesting that Rob Ford's biggest problem is his weight! Obesity is the real problem it seems, the drinking, the drugs, the lack of judgement, the resulting obnoxious behaviour, all take a back seat to the weight issue. Ford promised that in five months, he will be thirty pounds lighter and only when pressed by Mansbridge about the drinking, did he state that he will lay off the bottle as well.  In which world, does weight take precedence over all these behavioural issues? Perhaps, that's just the way they roll in the "Ford Nation!"

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