Dear Rob Ford,
You are an amazing person. I do not mean this satirically; you are an amazing person. You’ve had to deal with the entire Canadian media establishment shitting on you for years, not to mention what you and your family have been put through for the past 13 months. Gawker Media, who released the video that started the recent mess, has been critical of you and your policies since 2011. It can only be described as a vendetta.
They make fun of you because of your weight and because of your struggles with addiction to alcohol and drugs. They make fun of you because you’re a conservative. Because you pledged to “stop the gravy train,” which they don’t believe is real, or important. They make fun of you because of your deepest convictions. They laugh at you and call you names. For all this they are wrong, they are irrational and hateful, and they are wholly intolerant.
But they also hate you for the things you’ve said. They hate you for saying things that are not to be uttered in polite company, and that you wouldn’t want to say to your mother. They hate you for the comments you’ve made about ethnic groups, identities, and your fellow candidates which are reprehensible in our society. And they’re right. For all you believe about personal responsibility, you need to take responsibility for the things you’ve said and the people you’ve hurt. You say that you regret saying these things, and I truly believe you. But others don’t. And even if you regret saying those things, you still said them, and actions have their consequences. Your support has plummeted, now down to 21.7%. It’s over.
You believed that you could change this city. You tried. Then you believed that you would be a better mayor than Olivia Chow, something that you still believe. But it’s not a race between you and Chow, there are plenty of other choices. As it stands now, if you stay in this race, 67% of voters will never vote for you. You cannot win.
If you stay in this race, Olivia Chow may still win. You know that you don’t want her to win. But if you leave the race now with your head held high, and take some time to reconnect with your family, and make right with everyone you’ve wronged, everyone can be better off. And if you run for councillor or mayor a few years down the line, some of these people may be willing to vote you. But not in this election. If you leave the race now, you can pass the torch off to John Tory, a fellow tory, or Soknacki, or a candidate in this race who represents your brand of populism, rather than someone who will be responsible for its destruction.
In politics we talk about gravitas, and humility. We talk about caring more about the change you can effect than about the chair in which you sit. Even if you win, what more will you be able to do? With a razor thin margin of victory, a council who holds you in contempt, and a media that loathes you, what kind of legacy will you leave?
Rob, it’s time to quit and let the race run its course. I hope to see you again some day, but for now it’s time to put the city council behind you. Your choice is to leave now with your head held high, or in ruin after a brutal shellacking in the polls. I hope that this time you take the high road.