It appears as if there is a brand of politicians that has forded the line from charisma to outright marketing. This kind is overdramatic, scandalous, ruthless, and will admit to have engaged in dishonest or illicit activities, perhaps for popularity.
Former alcoholics and drug addicts -- hats off to them -- are phoning in to CBC radio, remembering the same rage and powerlessness that Ford is denying. They slowly describe their impossible recoveries that came only after incalculable losses. And they help us understand what might be going on.
The pictures over the past two weeks are shocking. In one, the man's face appears concave instead of convex; the eyebrows are discernible, as is the bottom lip, but everything in between that should be there isn't.
These stories are rich with drug war ironies: political figures who have supported criminalizing drug users but who also like using drugs themselves; white men with stature suffering only minor punishment when compared to the poor and people of color.
Depending on with whom you speak, the truth is a) Rob Ford is the victim of a media attack the likes of which has never been witnessed in Toronto, including unjustified intrusion on his private property, or b) Rob Ford is the author of all of his problems. I would say both of the above contain truth and that all of the following are true, in my opinion.
As we all watch in awe as the human train wreck that is Toronto mayor Rob Ford continues to unfold, let us take a moment to reflect on the very ugly role that racism is playing in the Ford saga. I think that many of the people who claim to be disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford does drugs are, on some level, actually disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford (allegedly) smokes crack with Somalians in Little Mogadishu.
Rob, meet Kelvin. He can be a tremendous role model for you (and for all other politicians who have lost their way). Kelvin reminds us just how amazing human potential is, even coming out of a thoroughly corrupted environment. Kelvin is not paid a salary by his community, but maybe we should start demanding more out of our own (paid) community representatives.
What would Abraham Lincoln or Vaclav Havel think of Rob Ford, or the growing list of other politicians fallen into an unethical swamp? Two leaders who fought against the tyranny of slavery or of communism would surely shake their heads at our sliding scale of accountability.
Nigel Wright's problems, which we now know include RCMP allegations that he has committed bribery, fraud and breaches of trust, are entirely separate from Rob Ford's issues. But with every unnecessary television appearance Rob Ford makes -- with every fight he picks and every aspersion he casts on others to deflect blame from himself -- the Toronto mayor highlights just how much more dignity Nigel Wright has shown in the face of serious allegations of wrongdoing. The two are a study in opposites. Here's what I wish Rob Ford had learned from Nigel Wright.
Canada has been called a laggard when it comes to climate action, but the reality is that it's far worse than that, our policies and politicians are making us into a climate denier as a nation. Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq's statement that climate change was "debatable" is just a tiny glimpse into the harsh reality of the Harper government.
Is anyone tired of this brainless doorknob yet?
Way back in May, I had commented about my unease with Ford's relationship with young black males. I said that his proximity to these kids as a football coach smelled of the Penn State scandal. Was Ford a teacher? No. Was Ford in anyway involved in the education system? No. Was Ford a crack user? Yes. Was Ford an alcoholic? A pathological liar? Yes and yes. I'm sorry, but there is no way I would have wanted my child, who as Ford said would either be "dead or in jail," groomed and mentored on how to become a man by a drunk crack addict who could pretty well end up dead or in jail when this fiasco comes to an end.
I'm tired of the manipulation. Of your "Ford Nation". You are actively lying to these people. Your supporters, the people who believe you to such an extent that they are willing to overlook anything. Corruption. Crime. Drugs. Gravy. Crazy. I feel sorry for you, and I feel sorry for the voters who don't seem to know any better.
Most importantly, unlike Springfield Toronto has a city council and councillors. Unlike Mayor Quimby, Mayor Ford is not a power unto himself (as much as he thinks that). Oh, I almost forgot. Unlike Springfield, which is a fictional town in a cartoon, Toronto exists in the real world -- as real as the world gets, anyway.
Between Toronto's mayor who might as well be declared the Buffoon King, freewheeling, self-centred Senators who use taxpayer money as their own personal ATMs and a Prime Minister who would rather prorogue than progress, well, it's a great time to be a Canadian comedian. If it weren't so sad.
No, he owned up, no strings attached. He said he made a statement that turned out to be not true. He said he understood that it is scary to get a cancelation notice. And he apologized. Obama's apology gets full points for being unequivocal.