That Toronto’s current mayor, Rob Ford, is an A-one ignoramus was established well before he became mayor. Whether it was drunken bullying at sporting events or racist and sexist slurs levelled against citizens and peers, there was more than enough evidence to suggest that he was not the best candidate to be running the T-dot. However, a misleading campaign that promised everything in a few simple mottos, a pair of lame-ass competitors and the cynical manipulation and exploitation of many people’s most base natures has not only made him mayor, but has also made Toronto an international joke.
When he’s not firing or punishing those who don’t tell him what he wants to hear, warring with certain journalists for the same reason, or coming up with harebrained schemes for the city based, apparently, on some vision he had while drunk, his contributions have been either negative or non-existent. He is, in fact, the representative contemporary politician. He’s great at pointing out what he thinks doesn’t work, but he seems to have absolutely no idea how to achieve a positive accomplishment.
What’s even scarier about this creep is how much certain members of the Toronto media not only enable his lack of professionalism, but actually seem to forget their own journalistic obligations as well.
Whether it’s CP24 breathlessly reporting on every stupid PR move the mayor makes without ever mentioning his lame job performance, the National Post taking the Toronto Star to task for doing the job the Post refuses to do, or Ford’s ass-licking toadies at the Toronto Sun going through the most embarrassing ethical and intellectual contortions in order to justify and champion his idiocy, what’s become clear is that some of the Toronto media, like Mayor Ford himself, have put their rightwing ideology ahead of the welfare of Canada’s largest city and its citizens.
If this weren’t true, they would occasionally challenge Ford on his increasingly loony claims that he knows “what everyone in Toronto wants” because he spoke to some people at a suburban Tim Hortons or got a couple phone calls from constituents. But, for the most part, Ford’s outlandish claims, like his infantile behaviour, are glossed over by those who have a stranglehold on media in this country.
Which brings us to the really important question: why, after he rudely refused to attend the Pride festival last year, would those in charge of said festival invite Ford back a second time?
The mayor has shown nothing but contempt for the LGBTQ community, despite the fact this festival, which is now attended by an equal number of straight people, brings millions of dollars into the city each year. He attends many other religious and community functions without complaint, but when it comes to officiating even one Pride event over an entire week, Ford is completely unavailable. It’s pretty clear. Ford’s homophobic and he is our enemy.
The apologists all rushed to Pride’s defence, claiming an invite to the mayor is unbreakable tradition, that Ford’s refusal just made him look bad all over again, and that it is our job to “do the right thing.”
I take issue with each of these excuses.
Pride has evolved over the last 30-some years, and the idea that it has any traditions that are unbreakable is ridiculous. It’s a Pride festival, people. Issuing invitations to those who hold you in contempt for simply being who you are isn’t something that inspires pride; it’s something that indicates a serious self-esteem problem.
Inviting him again a second year doesn’t make Ford look any worse than he already does. It does, however, make those who invited him look perversely needy. It also suggests to those watching that everyone in the community was fine with this invitation, when, in fact, there is a huge percentage of us who saw it as a profound betrayal of everything we’ve fought for.
Framing the invitation as being the “right” thing to do allows the powers that be at Pride to do the politically correct thing in inviting the mayor and saves them from having to do the dangerous thing, which would be to take a stand, denounce the mayor as unfit to lead Pride in any way and deal with the fallout. There was a time when that was exactly what this festival was about. That it has now become a government-funded bureaucracy that pretends that doing the easy thing is taking the high road — well, that probably says everything that needs to be said about Pride’s current incarnation and where its true values lie.
And that’s almost as sad and frightening to consider as the deteriorating state of our lovely city under Rob Ford and his malicious cronies.