Let’s Not Hate on Rob Ford for the Wrong Reasons Part 2

A few months ago we blogged about Rob Ford when he was removed from office and we asked all the haters to hold back from castigating the mayor for the wrong reason. Back in November we were disappointed to see so many people making fun of Ford for his weight and appearance.

Well, we still hate Ford as much as the next guy, and would like to again remind folks that there are so many valid reasons to dislike the him and to think he’s not suited for public office and yeah, to think he’s an overall disgrace. We all know why he’s horrible–we don’t even need to list the reasons anymore.

This time we’re disappointed that so much attention has been given to the allegations that he smoked crack. This has been international news. It seems as though people are more outraged by the titillating possibility that the mayor has used drugs, and this story seems to have received more traction than any of the other more serious criminal offenses he’s been accused of like driving while intoxicated, assaulting his wife, and sexual assault. Not to mention the racist, classist, and homophobic positions he’s taken while in office.

Ironically, the stigmatization of drug users, and particularly crack users is a product of our collective classism and racism. Who among us has not used drugs? Recreationally or otherwise? Coffee, cigarettes pain killers, booze, weed? I know a lot of drug users who are among the professionals I trust but we’ve stigmatized crack as a drug used by poor people, sex workers and people of colour.

An interesting question would be whether the mayor was using a publicly funded crack pipe? He has consistently fought against harm reduction programs. In 2011, in voting against provincial grant money going towards city HIV prevention programs the mayor commented, “If you’re not doing needles and you’re not gay, you won’t get AIDS probably”. So yes, he’s a hypocrite but if the man uses drugs he’s no worse than the rest of us.

We were actually even a little underwhelmed to hear that Ford was fired as the coach of his high school football team in the wake of the drug scandal until we heard that they claim he’s being let go because he referred to the community as “crime ridden” and the youth as “gang bangers”. The people of Toronto should follow suit, they don’t need to see the video of Ford smoking drugs, there are plenty of reasons to fire him.

Comments

  1. It’s endlessly fascinating how enthusiastically this series of posts trumpets “hating” someone with whom you disagree on political matters.

  2. Mr. Tarantino, I take issue with your characterization of any of the reasons put forth in the above post — driving while intoxicated, classism, racism, or homophobia — as “political issues”, rather than social and moral issues. I can think of no valid political arguments for tolerating any of those behaviours.

  3. It’s ok to hate someone who is a public figure because they do things you think are fundamentally wrong. It’s also ok to hate someone you know personally. Hating is wrong when it’s directed at groups of people, especially stigmatized and marginalized people, based on some perceived group characteristic. But hate is a common human emotion and a legitimate part of politics, and nobody should have to apologize for using that word in that context.

  4. I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I don’t think, ultimately, that it’s the fact that he smoked crack. It’s his attempt at ignoring the entire issue and blaming it on the Star that is most insulting to the voting public.
    On the other hand, I do feel that the vitriol against Ford is excessive and I do believe that he’s an easier target for vitriol and mockery because he’s fat and sweaty.

    I think the mayor has a substance abuse problem. I think he needs to admit it, step down as mayor, and get help. I feel bad about the hate against him. I worry that the public animosity will be too much for him because he’s obviously got problems that run deep. I don’t think that laughing at him, or anyone who has a substance abuse problem, is ever acceptable. Yes, he acts like a jerk, but aren’t we supposed to show the most compassion for those who need it the most, but don’t know it?
    And, as for the stigmatization of crack? Yes, crack is the drug of the poor, the minority, the wreck. That’s why it’s so extra salacious that Mayor Ford smokes crack. Because he’s white and wealthy. But he’s a fat slob, so that kinda makes his crack use something that we can relate to. He’s a wealthy white male. But he’s obese and gross ergo crack is on the menu. Crack is whack, right? I mean, it’s just a big joke, in this instance. A fat, sweaty man who acts like a jerk + crack= comedy.

    I just don’t know. He’s a trainwreck. That’s for sure. But, he’s still a human being and we could all be better people by being insistent but a bit kinder about his predicament.

  5. “Who among us has not used drugs? Recreationally or otherwise? Coffee, cigarettes pain killers, booze, weed?”

    ORLY, these are all equivalent? I am reminded of the Kids in the Hall sketch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn7mwQOdSsg#t=3m49s

  6. Well said Sarah. I think we all to easily can fall into the trap of imputing base motives to those with whom we may disagree, and assuming that because we think their views are wrong they must obviously be a bad person and we are therefore justified in “hating” them and therefore dehumanizing them as unworthy of any compassion.

    When I read statements like “Well, we still hate Ford as much as the next guy” and “We all know why he’s horrible–we don’t even need to list the reasons anymore.” I think that says more about Karin and Leslie than about Ford himself. “Racist, classist, and homophobic positions” appear to be any positions that differ from theirs. I would say that makes them guilty of the very intolerance they condemn in others.

    I agree that Ford’s pattern of behaviour shows evidence of a serious substance abuse problem. Whatever my feelings about his politics – and as a non-Torontonian, I don’t have a dog in that fight – I agree that for his own good and that of the city he needs to step down and get help. Sadly, he seems locked in the state of denial that prevents so many with such problems from taking steps to get the help they need.

  7. The practice of accusation without secured, alleged evidence and a timely public show of it is suspect journalism. The public is strung along to what end? It’s easy to dislike Ford, and his law-breaking, morally indefensible behaviours should be accounted for, but if I were accused of something and no one had evidence, I think I’d stay mum, too. While it may be curious that he refuses to say he never smoked crack, the list of things one can be accused of is endless. Where’s the video of the human trafficking? Maybe the same place as the crack video. And maybe not.