Sunday, May 26, 2013

If we don't bother to care, then we will elect more buffoons for mayor 

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Bartley Kives provides  a round up of Rob Ford's most embarrassing moments beginning with the Don Cherry debacle:
"Oh man, it was just embarrassing for the largest city in the country -- it just made me sad," Coun. Paula Fletcher, one of those apparent kooks, told the Toronto Star at the time.
Little did she know she just witnessed the high point of Rob Ford's time in the mayor's chair."
Yes, and we've all been laughing about Rob Ford ever since.
But Kives goes on to describe how easy it is to elect a buffoon in any city which doesn't take itself seriously:
In 2010, Ford was a well-known political commodity in Toronto: A lazy anti-intellectual of dubious personal character. Yet he still won the mayor's race by capturing the public's imagination with a simple, idiotic slogan: He was going to end "the gravy train" of wages and benefits flowing to city employees.
Simple sloganeering has elected many vile politicians, most notably back in the days when ordinary people did not have access to endless quantities of information, 24 hours a day, practically everywhere.
But with a minimal modicum of effort, any Toronto voter in 2010 could have learned who and what Rob Ford was, both as a person and as a politician. The fact a majority decided a political lightweight was still the best person to lead the nation's largest city is a testament to how little voters actually bother to care about anything anymore.
This is chilling, not hilarious. And the phenomenon is not restricted to the people of Toronto, who now deserve our sympathy and compassion, not ridicule....
Toronto's elected leader has unfortunately set the mayoral bar as low as it can go. Given the importance of the office, this should not make anyone happy, anywhere.

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