I'm so torn on this whole Rob Ford thing: I feel a great deal of sorrow about the whole mess. It's 'fashionable' to feel sorry about it, according to one of many columnists I read this weekend, as though honest upset is impossible. That same columnist said it appeared as though Ford's 'catty' comments on Thursday had been rehearsed and Ford was pretty pleased to have said them, at the time at least. I thought the same thing upon my first watching, but dismissed my impression because really, who would be proud of such an utterance in front of a phalanx of reporters? The answer is, no one who would use the words utterance or phalanx.
Therein lies the great divide: Rob Ford won in Toronto on the politics of division, pitting the car-driving suburbanites against the subway-taking downtowners. Tim's versus Starbucks, and he's a Tim's guy, just like you!
But -is- he just like you? Yeah, you have a few hangovers in your history and a few things you're not particularly proud of, but how many of your friends are in jail?
Sure, you have some stories on the wild side, but have you ever been in a house that police characterize as a crack den? How often?
Do you know anyone who has been shot in a drug deal? Killed in gang activity?
Did you get yourself into a drunken stupor this weekend and accidentally take a drag on a crack pipe that just happened to be available? Were you at the kind of party that has crack?
Did you have a few drinks and get behind the wheel?
Has your spouse ever called 911 with an allegation of spousal assault?
Have you been arrested in possession of pot? How about for DUI?
Were you ever asked by a major organization not to appear at a public event like a football game or parade?
No? Well, clearly you're one of the snooty downtowners, you snob.
Personally, I don't pick who I vote for based on whether I want to hang out with them or whether their exploits are more or less embarrassing than mine. I try to vote for the smartest person on the ticket because the job they're doing is a complex one. I vote for the candidate I think is honest, because I want honest people handling my tax dollars. When I fill out my ballot, I don't feel that attending the same high school automatically earns a candidate my vote. When possible, I pick the person who's the smartest, the most honest and here's one more thing: the kindest. Kind with my money, and also kind, as in thoughtful and, for want of a better term, good. If a potential representative seems smart but also mean, I hesitate.
Maybe I'm alone in this, but whether I could down a beer (or ten) with a candidate, or where they buy their coffee just never,ever comes into consideration.