I’ve received a wave of emails from helpful readers, with links to news reports about Canada’s shame, drunk, crack-smoking, lying Toronto mayor, Rob Ford. “Write about this!” they suggest.
The mayor of a major Canadian city is a law-breaker, a substance abuser, an addict, and ill. When your defense to a video showing you smoking crack is “I was so drunk, I don’t remember it,” that should say it all. He initially lied about the allegations of his crack use. He calls up radio stations in a drunken state. He is caught on tape drunkenly screaming that he want to murder someone. His various public stances to keep his job have ranged from shameless appeals to pity— “I hope none of you ever find yourself” in such a state, a reverse Golden Rule tactic that amounts to arguing “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you if you were the irresponsible, addict mayor who will do and say anything to stay in office”—to that old stand-by, Bill Clinton’s “I’m just going to concentrate on doing my job and accomplishing what the voters elected me to do,” as if they elected Ford to embarrass the city.
Of course he should resign. If he doesn’t, he should be thrown out. Yesterday. This is even worse than the horrible Bob Filner fiasco in San Diego, where every other day more evidence surfaced that the mayor was a serial sexual harasser and predator. There are voices in Canada that are actually defending Toronto’s farce of a mayor, making the predictable argument that these are only “personal” transgressions, and don’t relate to his professional effectiveness. Indeed, some analysts believe that he can be reelected in 2014. “It isn’t like it has affected his work,” Ford’s sister, Kathy, told the press. The fact that a mayor breaks the law, is an out of control drunk, lies and that you couldn’t trust him to house sit your dog hasn’t affected his work. You are sad fool, Kathy, but you have a lot of company.
Leaders like Rob Ford, Clinton, Charlie Rangel (and I’m beginning to think Obama), like scoundrels before them (Daley, Curley, Conklin, and Marion Barry) are true ethics corrupters. They use class divisions and charisma to convince unsophisticated citizens to ignore their flawed character and values because “they care,” then to defend them, and eventually, endorse them. This is how corruption became embedded in the cultures of nations in South America and Africa, crippling them morally, politically and economically.
That fate is the real peril Canada risks if it allows its leaders to represent irresponsible, dishonest and untrustworthy conduct in positions which should be held to the highest standards, not the lowest of the low.
It should be obvious.
There’s really nothing to write about.
Graphic: NY Daily News