Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another Open Letter to Rob Fod

Dear Rob Ford.

What more is there to say? I know that it can't be easy filling your shoes these days, but I'm so annoyed by your constant lack of respect for me.

Yeah, I'm taking this personally. If you claim to stand for the taxpayer, for the voter, for the average Torontonian, well baby, I'm right here. It's me that you're not addressing when you spout nonsensical comebacks to reporters. It's me you're avoiding when your statement on whether or not you smoked crack, and whether or not that was captured on video, fails to materialize. It's me who feels rebuffed when you send your brother to comment on the crack scandal in your stead.

You have long prided yourself on being The People's Mayor, despite raised eyebrows and guffaws from many of The People. You were like Toronto's suburban dad: tight with money, constantly threatening to take us out of swimming lessons and cut off our computer time; a genial football coach who could lead his team to the finals but sometimes slipped up on the field; visibly uncomfortable when dealing with arty weirdos like our cyclist friend or our LGBTQ buddy; who didn't understand how saying Asian-Canadians "worked like dogs" wasn't a compliment. You are no doubt embarrassing, but I could see how you meant well.

But as your term has progressed, you've slowly transformed from "affable dad" to "unpredictable, scary-eyed guy behind me in line at Walmart." Your transgressions have become international news stories, as they rightly should be: when politicians are accused of smoking crack, that makes headlines. The incident file that St. Joseph's Media has compiled lists forty-six different incidents since you took office on December 1, 2010. That is, on average, about one every 20 days.

While the incidents themselves aren't always hashtag-worthy events, they have one unifying theme: they distract you and us from your job of running the city of Toronto. There are 2.5 million people living in this city (or, about 57,000 people per incident - that's one embarrassed North Bay-sized city every three weeks) who rely on you and your council. Important city decisions have been knocked off-kilter by your personal shenanigans, leaving council members to scramble in their wake. And while it's true that your mayoralty has been scrutinized to an unprecedented degree, you continue to necessitate the scrutiny by being erratic, rude, volatile, uncaring of the safety of others, dismissive of serious allegations, and a poor council member.

It's hard not to take that personally, Rob. People not so different from me still believe in you; you have let them down.

I hope you can transition from "scary Walmart stranger" to something more befitting of a mayor: "uncle who has seen some crazy shit" might be okay, as would "cousin who started 12-stepping a few months ago and won't shut about his higher power." I hope you get the help you need, whether it's addictions counseling, media training, or simply someone whose job it is to stand beside you every moment of the day and prevent you from face-planting. The people who elected you deserve that from their mayor, as do the rest of us.