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.