28 November 2012

Why I hate politics, part 160775326

Mayor Rob Ford has been ordered by a judge to vacate his office.  I have assiduously tried to avoid this story, but I could not avoid getting bits and pieces from here and there.  The news would have us believe that it all began when Ford asked for a donation for his football charity.  Apparently, he used Office of the Mayor letterhead, which was a problem, as Mayors are not to solicit for personal donations.  He was ordered by the city ethics commissioner to repay the money, and this would have been the end of the matter, except he refused.  Council had a debate and a vote on the matter, in which he participated, which was problem number two, since, as an interested party, he should not have been able to vote due to conflict of interest.  Someone tried to bring the case to court, a famous left wing lawyer offered to prosecute it pro bono, and here we are.

Some of the people with whom I work are elated.  Ford was an idiot, in their opinion, unsuitable for mayor, and they believe they are well shot of him.  They are confused when I disagree with them.  I believe Ford is an idiot, unsuitable for mayor, and I believe we would be well shot of him, except I believe we should get rid of him through the ballot box.

I said at the beginning that newspapers would have us believe that this affair began when Ford solicited a donation for his high school football charity.  I believe this all really began on the night Ford was elected mayor of Toronto.  Council was split between the left and the right that night, and the left wing has been doing everything they can to stymie, block, and castrate the mayor.  They have finally succeeded over a donation to a charity, (Ford never had the money for himself) of a little over three thousand dollars.  They are ecstatic and claiming victory, even as they cry crocodile tears and claim this is a sad day for Toronto.  They are starting to line up suitable candidates- for them a suitable candidate is a left winger- to replace him.

Their actions declare that Torontonians should only pick mayors of whom they approve.  Democracy only exists as long as they approve of the outcome.  Ford was elected by the same process as they, he has the same legitimacy as they,  but they believe they have some kind of right or responsibility to overrule the democratic process as they see fit.  This is indeed a sad day for Toronto.

On the other side, council may have found the only possible way for Ford to be re-elected.  His popularity has plummeted.  His inadequacy as mayor is palpable.  But they have made him a martyr.  This may come back to bite them.  I hope it does.  As I said, I don't want Ford as mayor, but I would also like to see this council gone, but I would like to see it done through the ballot box.  I would like to see all this done in a way where no one's vote is seen as more worthy than another; where no one tries to emend the "mistakes" made by the voting public, and takes upon themself a role they were never asked to do, nor voted the power to do; where the elected officials respect the rights of the voters, even though they may disagree with them; where the elected officials recognize that all the other elected officials are just as valid as they, and recognize they must work with the representatives who were all voted in through the same process, and not try and undermine another's authority, as though their authority were more legitimate than another's.  We should give it a try, and give it a fancy name, like "democracy".  I think it would be worth a shot.

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