THE BLOG

Why We Owe Rob Ford a Big "Thank You"

11/26/2012 04:27 EST | Updated 01/26/2013 05:12 EST

Alright everybody, slow down. Let's allow ourselves a moment to really think about the impact Rob Ford being booted from office is really going to have on the city or Toronto, the place it only seems like we remembered we lived in since Ford came along.

Cause it was kind of like waking up, wasn't it? Ever since that first tender cry of Ford, a sound that can only be described as a siren being sped up through a yak bak repeated by a smarmy parrot yelling at you through an intercom -- shrill and persistent and hammering down on your senses -- we were suddenly all awake, galvanized to this frothing renegade on our radar.

Sure we all loved former Mayor Miller and how tall he is, but he ignored the suburbs for a bit too long and they responded in kind by unleashing this red-faced champion on our selvedge-barn wood doorstep. We couldn't help it, we were mesmerized.

Everything he did was newsworthy, on all the national front pages. The whole country was paying attention to Toronto, some saying we finally got what we deserved and vehemently jubilant that our long-toted "arrogance" (or whatever) had finally conjured up its own succubus. We loved it!

Ford was, in his own fumbling toward ecstasy sort of way, successfully rallying the entire country. CNN, BBC, they all started paying attention to Toronto, playing into our forever-the-hated older sibling stereotype and need for attention. Sure, it was embarrassing to have a Mayor who looked nothing like Kurt Russell but wanted to pull some sort of reverse Escape From New York on us, but wasn't it kind of nice to pretend for a minute we had a real live liege lord? And how about having a guy in control that was simply too busy doing his job to look at the road when he was driving, or was finally the one to act out what we were all thinking every time we see any cast member from This Hour Has A Million Too Many Boring Minutes.

And that is -- was? Admittedly it's hard to let go and start talking in past tense here -- the undeniable irony of Ford, that he had us all paying attention.

It is hard to say when there's been such a unanimous, near-voracious interest in a civic politician. Whether or not you were just along for the laughs there was no doubt you were still taking in the politics of the situation as it unfolded. It was impossible to turn a blind eye to a man who refused to get out of the picture, and in doing so rallied an entire city around -- though against -- him.

Even downtown Toronto's favoured fallback argument of blaming the sleepy ol' suburbs, which face it is getting as tacky and predictable as jabs about Ford's weight, fell flat on its face. The 'burbs too began to see the fallibility in the ignorance that was thus far keeping Ford afloat beginning to deflate. Here we all were finally, rallying behind Toronto's new collective city mantra: "What the hell?"

And unfortunately that's where it stopped. No one can be particularly surprised that Ford finally got caught in one of his weird cartoon gaffes, only that this one seems to be on something of the tamer side and that he literally did it to himself. Some might wonder where his staff were but that is easy since they'd most likely bought out all the Motrin in a 100 mile radius and were looking for some at a Rexall in Ajax.

Clayton Ruby is right, Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford, but Rob Ford also did this to us. The turn now is what's going to be interesting. Whether or not we address without predictable finger-pointing the needs of city vs. suburbs, if they can exist separately, if they are able to, if we want them to, basically a whole lot of questions for an ultimately fleeting interim Mayor. And who is Doug Holyday besides a Gollum-esque in-the-meantime?

Are we ready to consider new candidates for Mayor, and if we're looking at a mid-March election does that give anyone enough time to come up with the money to launch a successful campaign against a teen girl dramatic martyred Ford? Who please believe is going to make his comeback campaign look like a Sun News lauded crusade against this new omnipotent "left." These are the open ends left when this type of shit goes down with no option of recall legislation. We're stuck in a leaderless city in a leaderless province singing over and over the requiem of Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again On My Own."

'Cause wouldn't it have been incredible if Ford's last gift and legacy to the city was voting him out on the high-tide of self-hatred he'd stirred up. There is something much more resolute and indisputable in a decision delivered in a thousand swifts kicks instead of one single one by an old white guy. If that had happened we could probably have cast a statue of him and set it outside City Hall with a plaque that just said "HERO."

Rob Ford Verdict