It’s easy to become mired in cynicism and disillusionment. And it’s easy to look at the shit that’s going wrong, say “We’re fucked,” and then get bogged down in pessimism. And it’s especially easy when someone’s unprofessional, pompous behaviour only validates your beliefs.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never exactly been Rob Ford’s head cheerleader. I find his general level of tact, foresight and altruism to be sorely lacking for someone of his position, and while he’s perfectly capable of pointing out what’s wrong with the government, rarely does he use his position of power to change them in any real way.
But today, Ford did something different: he showed up to PFLAG’S raising of the rainbow flag at Toronto City Hall. Considering that Ford has avoided the gay community like the plague, and his comments about fellow mayoral candidate George Smitherman, it’s easy to say that Ford and the gay community aren’t really BFFs.
That said, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and I also believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to changing for the better. Do I believe that Ford’s appearance at the PFLAG event today undoes his past indiscretions and comments toward the gay community? Fuck no. Ford showing up today was exactly what a mayor is supposed to do. It’s the bare minimum of his public service. If anything, it was like putting a band-aid on a broken dam after the city’s been flooded.
However, I’m not going to rule out the possibility that Ford could one day realize how embarrassing his past actions have been, for himself and this city, and that he could work toward bettering himself as a mayor so that Toronto can be a better place. If he wants to do some actual good, he should follow through on this gesture, become more informed about the gay community, learn to lead with his brain rather than his ego, and actually serve the people of Toronto rather than himself. This is one small step to that impossible dream. Of course, this could just be a thinly veiled PR stunt meant to recoup a public official’s floundering image.
It could go either way at this point.
(Image via SlapUpsideTheHead.com)