Hear me out. It seems as though Rob Ford‘s life has taken a crazy turn for the worst ever since he admitted to smoking crack last week, and while much of the coverage on him has been hilarious, it doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. And it’s obvious that Ford is not in a state to govern a city anyway.
A couple of days ago court documents were leaked detailing an allegedly crazy St Patrick’s Day for the mayor in 2012, complete with hookers, 40oz bottles of liquor and marijuana in his office, along with a drunken trip to the Bier Market to do lines of coke in a private room.
There were also claims from a terrified former assistant who witnessed him drinking and driving–in this case Ford supposedly chugged a mickey after a football game and got behind the wheel.
And then there were sexual harassment claims from a city hall staff member. Yet somehow all of this manages to surface, all at once, within a week of the crack smoking admission. You can see how the guy might be a bit stressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the mayor has messed up big time, and much of the drama he is facing is of his own doing. I do feel, however, that this media frenzy is perpetuating unnecessary negativity that is ruining his entire life.
It’s one thing to hold somebody accountable for their actions and enact punishment to a certain degree, but it is quite another to exaggerate what someone has done and continue to publicly tear them down.
Yesterday Ford made a statement addressing the sexual harassment claims, saying, “It says that I wanted to eat her pussy…I’ve never said that in my life.” Of course the media exploded at his indiscretion.
It was a wrong choice of words, but this is a prime example of the media’s focus on the wrong things. Cursing is not evidence of incompetency. Ford’s cultivation as a giant laughing stock consequently justifies the public’s relentless ridicule of him and the media’s invasion of his privacy.
The media does have a duty to do, and that is to expose unethical and controversial behavior of public figures who are obligated to represent the public’s general interest. The public has a right to know these things.
But one person does not deserve to be put through hell and have people wandering on his property at all hours. This is part and parcel of Ford’s refusal to resign and withdraw from the spotlight, but a larger concern is the unrelenting quest to find more unearthed fault with him.
And perhaps this should become an unfortunate lesson to the province and the country: give the people the power to dismiss a municipal representative who is failing to provide proper leadership.
We should be redirecting our blame to someone who is in a better state of mind to make judgments about who should be in charge.
Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne has stated her concern, but refuses to do anything about the situation because she feels it is not her place to do so, that it is the municipal government’s responsibility to make decisions for the people of Toronto.
But she also goes to on to say that she will not do anything without the permission of the Conservative & NDP leaders, proving that the government at the provincial level needs to give its approval in order to force Rob Ford out of office.
Unfortunately, all that will ever be remembered from this situation is the public mockery and entertaining downfall of a man that ultimately needs help and is in denial.
Sentiments of singular blame on an obviously incapable individual, and no responsibility held to those in power who actually do, in fact, have the power to change the governing structure are not getting us anywhere.