I'm enjoying the collective "Oh my God, I need to move/set myself on fire/kill 49% of Toronto" freak out that's currently happening online because Rob Ford won the mayor's race in Toronto. Although, and let's be honest here, for most of Canada losing 50 per cent of Toronto is not the worst idea in the world.
I'm glad the election is over if for no other reason than I finally might be able to read the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail without their incessant coverage of the mayor's race. The Star has been particularly bad, which would be understandable because it is a Toronto newspaper and not a national one, as the Globe is supposed to be. But the Star has been so astonishingly anti-Ford that even I have been left breathless. If your editorial writers and columnists want to take a crack at him, that's fine, but even the news stories have displayed an astonishing anti-Ford bias.
I normally downplay as paranoia any time conservatives start going off on a rant about leftwing media bias (hello Sarah Palin), but the Star certainly didn't do anything to help the "media are neutral" cause with their coverage the past few months. If I am to believe their coverage I'm pretty sure Ford drowns kittens when he's not beating small children in his spare time.
However, we get off track here from the important point which is, oddly enough, not the idea that half of Toronto should feel free to kill itself in protest of Ford's election. I have several other points.
1. City's frequently elect crazy people to run them. For years municipal politics was the one place where you could be truly crazy and manage to get elected anyway. I've covered enough municipal politics over the years and have seen more than my fair share of the truly deranged sitting at the table and thinking themselves lords of creation because they were on council. The equation goes something like "Crazy + Modicum of Power = City Councillor/Mayor." If there are not crazy people on your city/town council, then you are truly the exception to the norm.
2. I have no idea if Ford is the anti-Christ with a double chin or not. However, if he is crazy he's not the first crazy mayor in the history of Canada. St. John's elected them for decades. Dorothy Wyatt, rest in peace, was mad as a hatter. John Murphy might have been sane at one point, but lord knows he was getting quite batty towards the end. That's probably because Andy Wells drove him there by the end of things. Oh, and speaking of lunatics, Andy Wells was pretty close to one. I desperately hope he's writing his auto-biography somewhere because I can't imagine anything being more entertaining.
I left out Shannie Duff there in the list of crazy St. John's mayors. I don't think she was crazy...it's just that nobody seemed to like her very much as mayor.
So yes Toronto, you did not event the crazy mayor. You're pretty late to the race. And I understand you elected Mel Lastman, but he was still triple A level crazy compared to what we've elected in St. John's.
3. Unless I'm mistaken on the way municipal democracy works, Ford is still just one vote. I'm sure there will be yelling, screaming, frothing at the mouth and diatribes before the Sun's editorial board on a regular basis about how councillors are ruining the city by holding up his agenda. Fair enough. Still, only one vote. Deal with it.
4. I'm torn as an outsider what the next few years will mean. On the other hand, watching people in Toronto freak out is always an entertaining spectator sport. On the other hand, watching people from Toronto whine for the next few years gets really annoying, really quick. We'll see which way it goes.
I have the feeling Ford is a four year flash in the pan. The kind of person you elect and then six months later you go "Holy shit, was I drunk when I voted?" but time will tell.
In the meantime, if someone could get me some of those Bose noise cancelling headphones to deal with that high pitched whine from the south, I'd appreciate it.
1. From blown speakers - The New Pornographers
2. Please forgive me - David Gray
3. Bargain - The Who
4. Take it on the run - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies*
5. Magick - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals