Obsessing about Rob Ford
Being the same age as Rob Ford, I can’t remember a time when the mayor of Toronto received such extensive and relentlessly negative attention; it just seems to go on and on and on, making a person wonder if this media frenzy will ever end. Other Canadian mayors must be incredibly relieved that the cameras and microphones and editorials and columns and tomatoes are aimed consistently at Rob Ford and not them.
What do you think? What could possibly explain this narrow and nasty focus on one particular person and one specific politician? This obsessive behaviour isn’t normal, is it? Surely, it calls for an explanation. But what are the options?
Has this undesirable special treatment resulted because Rob Ford is obviously unfit to govern this metropolis? This is one possibility. But is this a fact that is plain for all to see? Most of the voters in the Etobicoke North ward and many of the 2.6 million people in Toronto wouldn’t agree. Mr. Ford has been on city council for over a decade and has been elected to office four times.
Well then, is this because Toronto – Canada’s largest city – has recently been recognized as the undisputed center of this nation and therefore worthy of undivided and even fanatical attention? Hardly. Maybe this description was true 20 years ago, but at the moment Ontario appears to be in an overall state of decline. Toronto is a big player, but comparatively not as big as it once was. Power and influence is shifting; but even if it wasn’t, who wants to hear about any particular mayor day after day after day? No thanks.
So how about this explanation: A significant and feisty group of left-leaning journalists really don’t care much for the political position represented by Rob Ford? Could it be as simple as that?
One thing for sure, I wouldn’t want a sophisticated and yet hostile media mob following me around 24 hours a day “reporting” on my every move. Would you? This type of harassment might drive a man to drink – or worse.
Right about the time that Rob Ford apologized for smoking crack cocaine during a drinking binge (sadly, this allegation is true) I finished reading a book by Eric Metaxas called Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness. This New York Times best-selling author writes about George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson in order to inspire others to do great things.
The timing couldn’t have been better. For it soon became clear that each person in this book was not perfect. Far from it. But at the some time, each one used their power and talent and abilities to serve others in remarkable ways and accomplish great things. Chuck Colson, for example, went to prison because of Watergate and then devoted much of the rest of his life to serving prisoners.
Each man lived in turbulent times and faced very difficult situations. These men took a lot of abuse in the process of trying to accomplish something that would make a difference. How about that. Sounds familiar.
Who could possibly have a problem with trying to suppress the slave trade throughout the British Empire? Just about everyone – as William Wilberforce soon found out. What was so bad about a talented black man like Jackie Robinson playing baseball in the major leagues? Oh, everything. America and Britain are allies now, but in 1776 nobody was impressed with that George fellow over there in the colonies leading that revolution.
Talk really is cheap. It’s easy to say that Hitler needed to be stopped from a safe vantage point, and quite another to actually try to stop him. Back in 1988, I remember standing where Dietrich Bonhoeffer died. He was tortured and killed in Flossenburg just before the end of the Second World War. How tragic.
A few more questions: Do you have a hero? If you had to choose, would you pick an ordinary and flawed man like Rob Ford, who nevertheless tries to do his best to serve the people living in Toronto? Or would you aspire to become an elite and corrupt journalist who continuously abuses his power in order to drive this man from office?
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest for all the trees. Meanwhile, some people who can’t be voted out cause more problems than the ones who can.
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