Let’s be honest here: at your desk job, you check Twitter on the daily. You glance down at what’s trending, and you see two very familiar syllables: Rob Ford. Then, you encounter one of two feelings: a large, evil smile that’s hard to reproduce, or that feeling of nervousness you get for other people when they do something embarrassing. However, it’s safe to say that, regardless of the sensation you experience, the same thought filters through your head: “what has he done now?”.
Well, he’s done this.
Here we have Ford appearing intoxicated in what seems to be a fast-food restaurant and, speaking in some sort of mockery of a Jamaican accent. His knowledge of Jamaican swears, while impressive, is still deeply disturbing and highly offensive.
Things cannot get much worse for the Toronto mayor. As you can clearly see, there is an entire website devoted to chronicling all of his wrongdoings.
Are they really wrongdoings, though? Do his actions have a negative impact anyone other than Ford and his close allies? The answer is no. Rob Ford should – and has every right to – stay in office, and I’m going to tell you why.
Interested in municipal politics, Toronto? Blame Rob Ford.
Keep doing what you’re doing, Rob Ford. Stay in office, go to nightclubs, be a public embarrassment, and continue to say things that make people shake their heads at you. Do so, and I think you deserve to be in office.
It sounds absurd, but think of it like this: since Ford’s escapades, there’s never been more of an interest in Canadian municipal politics. Hell, there has probably never been an interest in Canadian politics in general.
Though Ford experienced many minor infractions throughout his political career, nothing hit harder than the video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack cocaine. Just imagine what your friends and family would do had they known that you committed what some consider to be a major felony.
Rob Ford doesn’t care. He just continues with his business, faces his problems head on (somewhat), and goes on with his day.
Even when he was asked whether he expressed desire to perform sexual acts on one Olivia Gondek, he decided that it was important for the public to know that “[he] has more than enough to eat at home.”
With every potential scandal, incident, or type of illegal activity, you’d figure Rob Ford would be discouraged from even continuing his mayoral duties. Nope. He’s still working, and even planning on running for mayor again next term, as he should.
Don’t you find it odd that you couldn’t care less about municipal politics (maybe even politics in general) before Rob Ford, but now you always find yourself clicking his name when you see it in the news? Don’t lie, that’s exactly what you did when you decided to read this very piece.
He’s helped engage people (primarily, our youth) in politics – something they otherwise wouldn’t have even cared about if his mistakes hadn’t started surfacing.
In fact, since the recent ice storm hit Toronto, his approval rating has gone up. Forum Research Inc. conducted a poll and found that “almost half of the 1,105 Torontonians surveyed approve of Rob Ford’s work as mayor, and four in ten plan to vote for him in the 2014 election.”
That’s right. You didn’t believe me, did you? Rob Ford still has a following, and a strong one at that. He’s tickled with joy. Additionally, even some political experts believe he could maintain his mayoral duties for a second term.
Nelson Wiseman, a professor of politics at the University of Toronto says, “I think he could easily get re-elected”, according to an article on CBC. “The attitude of a lot of people is that, ‘Look, I didn’t elect this guy because he doesn’t sleep around or he doesn’t do crack cocaine. I elected him because I think there’s a gravy train at City Hall, and that’s what I care about,’” Wiseman continues.
This is exactly my point. It doesn’t matter what this man does in his personal life. If he does well as Toronto’s mayor, his extra-curriculars are irrelevant (though, they do make for great entertainment.)
There’s something that can be said about Ford’s perseverance throughout all of these scandals. This perseverance is something few leaders have, and is why Ford needs to remain in office. He doesn’t let a little crack cocaine scandal slow him down (it probably speeds him up, honestly.)
There’s a reason Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne hasn’t dismissed Ford. She sees a leader. That’s what other people see, too. They see a hard-working person who is willing to work with and for the citizens of Toronto, and who occasionally needs to get belligerent in public sometimes.
I think making a few errors that have done relatively little damage to anything but his own credibility is an excellent trade-off for someone who can help engage the public into politics. Even if you don’t want him to run for mayor again, you should recognize that he is essential to politics. If he runs and fails miserably, other politicians will look at him and say, “well, definitely not going to smoke crack while somebody is recording a video.” But, if he runs again and wins (which I hope he does), it may cause other politicians to channel their inner Rob Ford. Then, politics could turn into a new drama on CBC titled “Unco-ordination Street.”
Regardless, we must take into account the positive aspects of Rob Ford and his scandals. After all, his “drunken stupor” notifies people that yes, Mr. Ford is human, and that’s what Toronto needs as a mayor. A human.
Here’s to “Ford more years!”