Like the rest of North America, I've spent the past couple of days mesmerized by the spectacle that is the Rob Ford debacle. I can't help but be in awe that, when the truth finally came out, the response from Ford Nation didn't just wind up being still so suportive...but proudly supportive. Not since mental midgets in the USA elected George W. Bush to a second (or first, really) term have I watched a thorough embracing of selfish dedication to political hackery on display.
People keep saying "Toronto deserves better." But there's more to it than that. Ford Nation deserves better.
The overwhelming mantra I keep hearing from Ford Nation is essentially "we don't care what he did, as long as we get our way." Except that this isn't a mantra anyone would ever take with "the other guy." Not even Ford would stand for it if it were, say, George Smitherman sitting in the Mayor's chair, lying to the public about smoking crack and going to great lengths to cover it up. Anyone think ol' George wouldn't be protested against by the very people who now shrug off Ford's behaviour? Not a chance. It's not something Ford Nation would tolerate with anyone else.
In fact, it's not something the average Torontonian would tolerate from anyone in any field that is important to them. Imagine your child's favourite teacher, no matter his record, suddenly came forward and made the admission that he smoked crack while stupid drunk. And that he'd gone to great lengths to deny it and cover it up for months, daring to vilify those who reported the truth as liars and cheats. There is no way Ford Nation would line up behind such an educator as blindly as they line up behind their mayor.
Just months ago, Ford's supporters screamed that there was no way he would ever indulge in such deplorable behaviour. Now those same supporters pretend the very behaviour their hero would never be a part of is...well...no big deal. After all, he saved them some cash.
And that's what it keeps coming back to. Ford appears to think that being mayor is all about "saving money." Ford Nation seems to share this belief. But if that's the only real job requirement, there surely must still be a better person to do it than Rob Ford. Can't Ford Nation find a Golden Griddle night-shift manager with fewer substance issues who also knows how to manage a budget? Surely there's a responsible money manager out there who is good at cutting spending and yet doesn't approach a wine tasting like he's doing keg stands at a frat party. If Ford is the hero his supporters stand behind, one has to wonder just why the bar is set so low in the first place? Shouldn't Ford supporters want someone who stands above them, rather than lays on the ground beside them, sleeping off a bender?
Forget your politics for one second. Forget left or right or suburban or urbanite. This guy shouldn't be your guy, no matter which side of the fence you fall off of during a drunken stupor.
Ford Nation should want better than Rob Ford, because Ford Nation should be better than Rob Ford. If our leaders are supposed to be shining examples of the people they represent, surely Ford Nation can find someone else. Not just for Toronto, but for themselves.
Ward Anderson is a comedian, author, and one half of SiriusXM talk-radio show "Ward and Al". His first novel will be released by Kensington Books in Spring 2014. He is currently in a drunken stupor, but not smoking crack. "Ward and Al" can be heard weekdays on SiriusXM's "Canada Talks," channel 167.