Thursday, November 14, 2013

Soap Box - Ford

Soap Box - Ford

I'm not defending Ford by any means, but every time someone points out the fact that he is fat, as though that is somehow the core reason for his main failing as a politician I somewhat want to throw up.  Our society has made it alright to lampoon him based on his appearance, his level of physical fitness (or apparent lack thereof).

The 'gravy train' joke?  His apparent bashing of pedestrians and cyclists?  I get that, it's too easy to point out that obviously he doesn't bicycle anywhere.  If anyone 'needs to cut the gravy out' so to speak, so on and so forth.  People calling for him to start doing some yoga, to use municipal dollars to hire himself a personal trainer, to eat a salad instead of so much 'gravy'.  People who say obviously as a fat white man he can't emphasize with his constituents, or his political policy platform in a city as diverse as Toronto...

I'm sorry.  Run this past me again.  What does being FAT have to do with any of that?  In a time and era where we are decrying targeted gender, racial, orientation or ageist criticism, why is PERSONAL IMAGE suddenly alright?  Have we gone so far in one direction where we decry the skinny that ridiculing the large is perfectly okay?  Somehow we know, in fact it seems like the entire liberal left understands inherently that attacking say, Elizabeth May on the basis of her gender makes no damn sense, and destroys any legitimacy in what could possibly be a fair assessment.  You can't, shouldn't, and don't point out that 'because she's a woman' anything.  Rightly so.  Her gender has nothing inherent to do with her political policy last time I checked.  Your X or Y chromosome does not influence your position on social spending, arts and culture, transportation, national defense, or a myriad of other societal issues that are largely based on your own personal nature of values.

Every time we see criticism leveled at our elected politicians based on gender, or race, or orientation we cringe inside, it's ugly.  It shows off the worst of our human condition, that we still categorize in hurtful, inappropriate stereotypes.  It shows off ignorance, and for the most part we are not alright with that.

So why then is it alright to call Rob Ford a fat fuck?  Why is it alright for there to be an entire twitter dedicated to fat jokes about him?  Why is it alright to comment and say that his municipal fiscal policy is centered around what he can put in his mouth?

I say right now that personal image is possibly the most blase thing to base your opinion of a political figure on.

Because, left wing, progressives.  You should know better.  You do know better.  Being progressive, and libertarian and forward thinking is that we overcame or are overcoming those deficits in discrimination.  It's not perfect, certainly not, but every time you blast Ford's policy on the basis of his 'shape' you are shooting our cause in the foot.

You are marginalizing every 'fat' cyclist or pedestrian.  You are marginalizing every 'fat' progressive political volunteer, every 'fat' environmentalist, every 'fat' artist and their voice.  You are saying we are the same as him.  And you will respond to this post and other posts by saying that of course we don't mean you, but you do.  You 100% do.  Your implication of his weight, his image, his choice of nutrition implicates that you are comfortable making broad generalizations based on the influence of said 'fatness' against everyone.

You also aren't thinking critically enough, when any person says that 'because he is fat' reasoning, that means they can't go any deeper then that, won't go any deeper then that.  It's too easy.  It's lazy political involvement.

Here's why I hate Rob Ford.  Succinctly written, and it has nothing to do with his image.

His municipal policies make no sense.  From a fiscal point of view, he imagines he's going to somehow save the city millions of dollars by spending more, fiscally, accountability wise they make no sense.  Look at the numbers, it's not possible.

He is de-prioritizing important infrastructure for what is a major, metropolitan city.  Calgary is a great example of what happens when you ignore infrastructure for a decade, deep rooted problems begin to occur that are not easily solved.  Infrastructure around transportation, zoning, sanitation, safety, security, education.  All of these things refer to the places where we live.  Don't let someone tell you what you want in regards to them, you live there, stand up for it.  Rob Ford would have it that you don't know what you need anymore, and try to 'save money' by putting the city in an infrastructure bind.  Open your eyes.

He is disregardful of the transparency of the Media.  What used to be an open door policy of the Toronto mayor is a shut one.  This should be a major indicator to the Toronto constituents of how far they are falling and how fast.  He no longer gives interviews to non-partisan reporting sources, or even partisan ones.  He can't be bothered to hold press conferences on his policies.  He thinks he is above explanation.

He had a serious conflict of interest trial which went to the Ontario Supreme Court.  He was found guilty of a conflict of interest, and only by appealing the judgement was he allowed to maintain his municipal seat.  A conflict of interest.  A conflict of interest trial in which he confessed before a court of law that he had not read the appropriate documentation on what a mayoral conflict of interest would entail.  He had not, read the documentation, which the people of Toronto pay him to do.  Pay for him to not commit illegal activities.

Speaking of illegal activities, there is footage of him with possession and usage of an illegal, contraband substance.  He LIED initially about his involvement with said substance, he LIED to the Toronto people, to direct questions about it, and only when he was caught has he since apologized.  He says he does not need to give up his seat, but the decision shouldn't be his.  The Councillors have voted something like 32-5 against him, and he will not resign his position.  Whether he smokes or smoked or bought or sold marijuana is academic.  But you can't say the same about crack cocaine.  I'm sorry that there will be people that think him doing cocaine is alright and we should just 'loosen' up, but when you are in a position of authority and are a figurehead for millions of people, the laws apply even more stringently, not less.  By committing himself to illegal activities, and then LYING about it, the very basis of any good character he might have had is gone.

In public he represents himself as being lewd, often drunk, with no respect to his fellow peers or justices.  As a public figure his representation of Toronto is creating an ongoing tarnished image, he is being comedically satirized across the coast and as far away as Australia.  This is irreparable image damage to Toronto.  There's even 10 minutes of protracted footage of him, drunk (or otherwise) of uttering threats.

That's why I hate Rob Ford.  And am infinitely glad to be represented in Calgary by Naheed Nenshi.  But you will recognize, nowhere in my objections to Rob Ford do I give TWO FUCKS about what he looks like, his skin color, his sexual orientation, or his age.  I simply do not care.  I do not care if the man had an extra large poutine for lunch one day.  I do not care if he ate two donuts before his morning session.  I DO NOT CARE what he looks like, or what his skin color is.  It is not my business if he wants an extra helping of food for dinner or not.  There is MORE than enough fuel for me to be angry at his policies and his representations of Canadians to the rest of the world without sullying my own criticisms.

Oh here's one more.  One more reason I hate Rob Ford?  Because he brought out some of the worst in all of us.  For some reason, he became a target by which we think it's acceptable all of the sudden to make fun of people based on their looks, their weight, their eating habits.  I thought that all died in the 90s with Callista Flockheart, but apparently we've just gone into the other direction.

Give your head a shake, attack him on the basis of policy, ideology, opinion and position.  Attacking him, attacking anyone on the basis of physical appearance is just low.