Tag Archives: Politics

Why I’ll Leave Toronto If Rob Ford Gets Re-Elected

I think this will be my last Rob Ford related post. I’m a little appalled that his name has even snuck into my blogs as often as it has. I guess the whole thing has been a pretty big news story around the world, and living in Toronto has given me that front row seat that I would NEVER have purchased. I don’t want to make it seem like Toronto isn’t big enough for the two of us, but I made a decision a while back that if he should somehow get back into office (which is not entirely out of the question believe it or not), that I will move out of the city. It’s a fairly interesting blog topic, and I’m not sure why I didn’t write about it before now. I saw footage of a press conference the other day. I’m not going to include the link here, but it was so bad. He should have just read off his paper, but he was trying to use his brain and improvise, and is ill-equipped. I don’t even think he was intoxicated. They were asking what he thought the top issue was in this election. He said jobs. Then he later said transit. Then he back peddled, and spent 30 awkward seconds trying to convince the media that if you don’t have a job, then you don’t need transit. If a 5-year-old was saying that I would give him a dirty look. The mayor of our great city? I’m outta here.

Before I discuss the Rob Ford angle, I want you to understand my situation a little further. I have a wife and a young son. We live in a condo that we will soon outgrow. Was I going to move anyway, and I’m just threatening this as a happy coincidence? Possibly. I do live on the very west-end of Toronto. Five more minutes by car, and I’m totally out of the city. To purchase a house in Toronto is going to be more expensive than doing so further away. I’m acknowledging this because some people who know me may not think that leaving Toronto is such a huge stretch in my current situation. That said, I do currently work in Toronto (on the west end as well), and my wife works right downtown. From that perspective, I’d certainly be willing to stay in Toronto if I could do it at the right price. So me leaving is not a done deal. But…….. If this election happens, and Rob Ford gets back in, I’m telling you right now…… The house hunt starts in earnest, and Toronto locations will not be considered.

Why? Am I such a close follower of politics that I would choose a place to live based on who was in office? No. Am I that embarrassed about my city being the laughingstock of the world for the last 4 years, that I would need to leave? Yes, but no. Is there anything being done at city hall right now, or in a future Rob Ford era that I think is going to make the city completely unlivable?? Probably not.

The issue is the voters. When Rob Ford got elected the first time, people didn’t know he was a raging alcoholic who did drugs (and by the way those aren’t even the main reasons why he’s a terrible mayor, but I don’t want this blog to go off the rails, so I’ll spare you the details). They wanted a fiscally conservative right-wing mayor. He seemed like the guy, so they voted him in. I say ‘they’ because I most certainly did not vote for him even then. In fact, I voted for a guy I didn’t even like, in order to try to block him from getting in. My reasons? Simple. I don’t like a guy that can’t look people in the eye. He didn’t seem intelligent. Small stuff like that. That’s OK. I give people a pass on voting him in the first time. They didn’t know he would be a train wreck. They didn’t see it coming. I get it. Now, it’s a little bit different. We know he’s a train wreck. We know that he’s in no shape to run this city. I’m not going to lie to you….. If I was the manager of a McDonald’s and he came in all shifty, and didn’t look me in the eye, I wouldn’t even hire him to sweep floors. So how is he being taken seriously in the next election?

Right-wing voters will seemingly only vote for a right-wing candidate. That’s been my experience anyways. George W. Bush got re-elected. I don’t think anybody thought he was the sharpest tool in the shed. So Rob Ford can get re-elected. He tells right-wing voters what they want to hear. Not in the most eloquent way, but he manages to get the point across somehow. I don’t even care about political ideals. Give these idiots their fiscally conservative mayor, just not the guy who smokes crack. It’s not even the crack. It’s the constant poor judgement. CONSTANT! Judgement is one of the most important things for a mayor to have. His is poor.

Speaking of poor judgement, why would I leave Toronto if Rob Ford is re-elected? It would mean that at least one-third of the population has poor judgment. It would mean that one-third of the population thinks it’s OK to let someone with an absurd track record of poor judgement run one of the biggest cities in North America. It means that if I’m not a Rob Ford supporter, and my next door neighbor isn’t a Rob Ford supporter, then my other next door neighbor is. Sorry, but I don’t want you around my kid! My son isn’t even 2 yet. Do you think as a parent that it would be a good idea to raise my son in a city where at least 30% of the people lacked any kind of good sense whatsoever??? No! It’s a horrible idea. It saddens me, because I love Toronto with a passion, but there are too many goofballs inhabiting this city. I don’t trust the general population. If you think he is a good idea, then what else do you think is a good idea? What other horrible ideas do you have? What other mind-blowingly unacceptable things do you find perfectly fine? I’d be scared to rummage through these people’s basements. What kind of jobs do these people have in the community? The more I talk about it, the more it freaks me out. I’m done.

Crack, Alcohol, Dishonesty With A Twist Of Ignorance – A Mayor’s Cocktail

I wish this were reality TV. The thing I like about reality TV is that I don’t have to watch it. I can change the channel, or just not watch TV. If I want to watch the News, or listen to the News, or read about the News, I cannot escape the reality TV that is the Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s life. When someone says to me that the Kardashian TV shows are stupid, I’m always quick to say that I wouldn’t know, because I don’t have time for that bullshit, and neither should they. I want to say the same thing about the Rob Ford saga. I really don’t have time for this bullshit. The only problem is that THIS is the News. I DO have a choice to not watch the news, but it’s a choice to be misinformed, unlike the choice to not watch the Kardashians….. a choice which made properly, I believe salvages some of my intelligence. Rob Ford is in my living room every day. He’s in my living room drunk, belligerent, defensive, dishonest, stammering, mumbling, and that’s just when he’s not allegedly on crack. There isn’t a day that goes by when this isn’t a huge story. I’m really tired of it.

I’m well past the point of caring if this man smoked crack or not. He either did or he didn’t. If he wasn’t representing our city, I wouldn’t even have a problem with it. It’s his life. It’s not about politics either. He could be doing a good job at City Hall for all I know. He says he’s doing a good job, and that must be enough for most of his supporters. A strong group of which don’t seem to care that he’s a walking embarrassment for the city. They were obviously the ones that voted him in. A surprising number of them are still really strong supporters of him too. They feel he’s being picked on. If anything, I think it’s making them relate to him more. I think it’s because there’s the whole Right Wing vs. Left Wing at play here. Of course individuals HAVE to be one or the other (God forbid we actually just voted for whoever we thought was the right person). Everybody LOVES to be on a team. This team is called Ford Nation! Yes, they actually have a team name. He repeatedly claims to be saving money for tax payers, but I don’t think you can save me enough money to compensate for the humiliation I feel when a hack like Jay Leno can make jokes at our expense.

The problem for me is that if there’s one person that truly represents a city, it’s the Mayor. Ours can’t stay out of trouble for more than 30 seconds. He’s only been in office for 3 years and at least 2 years and 11 months have been a shit show. So much so that the rest of the world has taken notice. For the EXTREMELY IGNORANT people who say ‘any press is good press’, let me remind you that he’s not an actor or a singer. He’s the Mayor. Bad press is bad press. It makes us look bad. We don’t need bad attention. The incidents that have occurred both major and minor are increasing in number. Where does he find the time to get into all this shit? It takes a lot of time to get into this much trouble! How does he do it?

I want a Mayor that can look people in the eye. I want a Mayor that can talk like an educated person. I want a Mayor that doesn’t get super hammered in public (just for the small percentage of his life that he happens to be Mayor, but if he wants to get smashed every other St. Patty’s day for the rest of his life, then fuck it, why not?). I want a Mayor that doesn’t smoke crack. I want a Mayor that handles adversity with grace, rather than getting into grade five-esque shouting matches with reporters. I want a Mayor who after causing a city such a heaping amount of embarrassment would have the good sense to step down. Most of all, I just want to be able to watch the news in the morning without having to see this moron, and his ridiculous shenanigans taking up precious valuable space in what’s left of my brain.

People Disappoint Me….. As They Should!

When I was a kid I was vaguely aware that a lot of other kids were a bunch of whiny assholes. I probably was one as well, to be fair. The funny thing is that I always had this sense that the situation would improve as I got older. I don’t know if it was me being optimistic, or just having faith in the theory of people maturing as time moved on. I suppose there are a lot more examples of people growing up, then not, but it’s the ones where they don’t that stick out in my mind. I’m not going to list off all the times that I thought grown adults acted like 6-year-olds. That would take forever, and I just don’t have that kind of time or attention span. I just want to say that as an adult, I’m disappointed when I see other adults behaving like they just started going to school for the ‘full-day classes’. That said, who am I to judge? What did I think was going to happen? We’re the same exact people that we were when we were 6. Just older. Most of us evolved some, but when the pressure’s on, sometimes that ‘inner 6-year-old’ has to take over and weigh in with his/her opinions and antics. It’s probably too much to expect that we could have completely gotten to a point where that doesn’t come out anymore. Could a world full of mature people even exist? What would that be like? It could be awesome, but maybe it would have its own share of problems that I can’t quite foresee. So…. I guess it’s OK?

Politics is my favorite example. When you read about it in the paper, they use fancy words like conjecture, posturing, and semantics. That’s because there are intelligent people writing about a non-intelligent situation. When you watch some coverage of them operating on TV, and these people are some of the most immature we have in society. The way they argue with each other, airing out their pissy little grievances with their selfish little agendas….. forming their little cliques and alliances….these are the people we depend on to run our towns/cities/provinces/states/countries! It’s disappointing. I don’t normally follow politics for this reason. Every time I feel like I might be interested, there’s some display of foolishness and incompetence that I’d rather just not know about, which drives me away. You know what though? They’re people. Not unlike the people in the first paragraph. Except these people are more interested in power, and they want to be shot callers! Oh sure, there are a few martyrs out there too that just give and give and give themselves for the betterment of society (if that’s what you choose to believe), but at the root of it all, none of these people would have had any interest in politics if it weren’t at least somewhat in their nature to want to be shot-callers. You put a bunch of shot-callers in the same room all day, and make the stakes incredibly high, and what do you get?? Conjecture, posturing, and semantics….. all fucking day! What did we expect?

Finally, there’s a story in Toronto about a police officer who shot a suspect carrying a knife 8 times (on 9 shots) and killed him. I feel like this news story plays different in Canada than it would in the States, but the media is all over the police department for excessive violence. As they should be. There has to be a better way to take down a suspect. The way this has all played out in the media has been totally one-sided though. What happened to a person taking some responsibility for being there with a knife in the first place? Also not dropping it when the police told him to? I don’t know the whole back story, and very little has been mentioned about what was really happening at the time the police arrived, but the victim at very least made a decision to carry a knife that day, and the rest isn’t that important to me. I can’t give him advice now, but I will say this to any of you out there that might get into some shit. If you are wielding a knife, and a bunch of cops are there asking you to put it down, you might not be expecting to die at that moment, but you HAVE to respect the fact that it could happen. That’s just common sense. Right or wrong, police are human beings, and it’s not an automatic that you will just get tasered or shot in the leg. If you make them mad, there’s always a chance that you could get lit up. I want to believe that the police are generally good people. I want to believe that they don’t get into situations like that on purpose. They are just people though. Who knows if you got them into a corner, or underneath their skin enough? Everyone has a breaking point. They carry guns. I have a theory that most cops have violent tendencies. I would think that it’s a bit of a requirement for their job. If you are hoping to never be in any type of altercation, than you aren’t likely to try to become a police officer. There has to be something in your personality which suggests that you wouldn’t mind walking around with a gun, and if push came to shove, you wouldn’t mind using it. If this wasn’t the case, why would you become a cop? Oh, I’m sure just as in the above paragraph that there are some absolute saints who become cops just because they want to help clean up the city. For every one of those, there have to be at least one or two tough guys that would love to carry a gun and be an authority figure. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as they’re out there fighting the good fight, but I certainly wouldn’t wave a knife at one of them.

Theories on Toronto, Pride, Politics, and Canada Day

Haha…. LOADED like a baked potato this blog promises to be. (Complete apparently with Yoda style sentences). For those that don’t know me personally, or are new enough to the blog, I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I couldn’t be happier about that, especially on Canada Day. Happy Canada Day by the way, to all Canadians reading this, and Happy early Independence Day for all of my American readers, as I won’t blog again until after that is over. It’s like 2 friends having birthdays 3 days apart. We should really celebrate together, but each of us wants our shine. Oh well.

This past weekend, Toronto has been host to Pride Toronto which is an annual event for the Gay and Lesbian community. I’ve never taken part, but I’m really happy for those who do, and I’m proud to live in a city that’s open-minded enough to throw a kick-ass party every year for this group. My stance on Gay/Lesbian rights is the same as my stance on human rights. They are human, therefore, they should have the same rights as other humans. It’s pretty cut and dry as far as I’m concerned. Even when I was young and didn’t have the same level of perspective as I do now, I never had a problem with Gay people. I always thought that it meant more women for me! I find it fascinating that Homophobia even exists. As a heterosexual man growing up, I was way too concerned with chasing women to even care whether everyone else was or not. What goes on in your house is your business. So I’ve always had this theory that Homophobes are possibly Gay also, but haven’t liberated themselves by being honest about it. Just a theory! If you dig deeper it makes a lot of sense. Who in their right mind would really be angry enough at the world to try to stop other people from being happy? Misery loves company, so the answer is people who are unhappy, although I’m sure it’s not that simple. I think as long as you can’t be yourself, you will probably be unhappy. Therefore we should live in a world where everyone is welcome to be themselves free from prejudice, and just see how that plays. It’s probably better, but what do I know?

I do have another theory involving Pride, Toronto, and Politics. Our Mayor is under a lot of fire, and has been for various things over his entire term. People from outside Toronto will have probably heard about the ‘crack-smoking’ video, but if you’re from around here you know that this guy can’t move 5 feet without stepping in shit, and the crack video is at least the 10th stupid thing he’s done. He thinks that the left-wing media is out to get him. The thing is he’s absolutely right. The media IS out to get him. Now that’s not to say that he’s not a complete embarrassment as a mayor. He is, but what came first? The chicken or the egg? I think he started to suck really badly right off the bat, and that’s why they’re out to get him, but make no mistake… they ARE out to get him. I’m a little amazed that they haven’t got him already.

Mayor Rob Ford’s first massive blunder in my opinion (and I said this to anyone who would listen at the time) was blowing off Pride Week the first year he was in office. He wanted to go up to the cottage, which he says is a family tradition dating back to god knows when. While part of me respected his commitment to family (although a friend of a friend of a source’s brother’s nephew said that these are a bunch of business associates from the family business, and it’s relatively formal and catered…. not just cooking franks on a BBQ and throwing the frisbee around, but I don’t know the source, or his brother’s nephew so take with a grain of salt), this guy had to understand what he was turning down. This is one of the hugest events in the city that he’s mayor of in the entire year. Not to mention it’s an event that celebrates diversity in a city that’s renowned for having lots of it. You don’t want to snub this group (many of whom, I’m sure are ‘Left Wing Media’ during the day) during their proudest moment of the year! It’s the wrong thing to do, both politically and in real life. You’re the mayor, you could come down to a couple of events and say a few uplifting things about supporting the struggle for equal rights, and how proud you are that so many of your voters have risen through such adversity. Nobody’s asking you to wear leather chaps and run up and down Church St. with a water gun. Just show up at a couple of places and say a couple of things. Supportive things that don’t sound like they were written by a speech writer, but that came from your heart!

Now if he had done that in his first year, I’m not suggesting that the whole crack smoking thing just ‘goes away’, but that was the first chance for a right-wing politician to really make a good impression with a lot of left-wing voters, and he screwed it up. Who knows how different things could have been for him if he just had the foresight to make some friends in the early going. I think if he could have put his best foot forward in that situation, there may have been some more people out there who would have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on some things. These are the moments you can’t get back though.

Presidential Debates – The CliffsNotes Version of Actually Knowing About Politics

Everybody loves a good debate.  Especially a political debate.  While I think most people pose as somewhat knowledgable, or at least able to understand and maybe even speak to most issues, I think we all know approximately one-third of what we think we know.  The math works like this…….If someone thinks they know 40% of what’s going on, then I divide that number by 3 (or 3.3333333 til infinity if you really want to be accurate), and I come up with really only knowing about 13% of what’s going on.  Just for fun, divide that number by 3 again and it gives you a number just over 4%, and that’s what I think the average amount of people really know about politics.  I fall into that category as well.

When the debates come on, people come out of the woodwork to watch.  This is a way to sum up the last 4 years into a 2 hour TV program, which is right up the alley of people who don’t like to pay close attention to politics throughout the year.  All registered voters have a decision to make, and at some point I think we all feel guilty about the fact that we live in a free country and should really make use of that freedom by using our vote.  If you weren’t paying attention to politics, watching the televised debate is equivalent to cramming for a final exam in a class that you didn’t really pay attention to all semester.  If we had a book to read in high school, we were all searching for the CliffsNotes version, so we could zip through it and just get the important parts.

As a Canadian, I like to watch the Canadian party leaders debate, because I  have to vote for one of these guys.  As a Canadian, I like to watch the American party leaders debate, because who doesn’t love the drama?

Is the Presidential Debate really important or not?  I think most Americans are either Democrats or Republicans regardless of who the leader is.  I don’t think they watch the debate to decide who to vote for, but cheer for the guy that they are going to vote for.  For those Americans that are undecided, what can you really learn from watching the debate anyways??  To me, a debate is no reflection on whether or not someone can do a job, as much as it’s a reflection on whether or not one guy can prove the other guy is an asshole.  I could spend hours telling people why they suck (and do so every morning on thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com….. PLUG!!!), but that doesn’t mean I’m any better than them.  It just means I’m a more proactive hater!  I think it’s also a contest to see who can come up with more positive soundbites, while also limiting soundbites that can be used against them in future television commercials.

I think the advantage always goes to the challenger.  You can easily prove that a President is terrible at his job in 2 hours by listing off every mistake he’s made for the last 4 years.  How do you prove that a guy with no track record in that position sucks?  You can’t.  You almost just have to let him have a crack at it, and then in 4 years some other guy can come along and talk about how bad he was.  If you said he sucked right now, you’d just be speculating.

When I say 4 years I also use that term very loosely, because I think they only do their jobs for 3 years, and then spend the last year trying to convince people to give them another 4 years.  When you consider that it probably takes a good 6 months to a year to actually get good at their jobs (any tough job has a learning curve), I would say that these leaders really only do their jobs about half the time.

Just so it doesn’t seem as if I’m ganging up on American politics.  I will poke fun at the Canadian debates too.  We have at least 3 political parties who have enough support that they are able to participate in the debates.  Sometimes 4.  The 4th is from Quebec, and their main political platform, is to take care of Quebec, and have them separate from the rest of Canada.  WE ALLOW THEM TO DO THIS!  The debates are chaos.  3 leaders is too many to begin with, but then when you add another who doesn’t care about 75% of the country, it’s madness.  Americans will probably find this hilarious, and I don’t blame them.

To summarize, we have a couple of countries here in North America that rely heavily on televised leader debates.  The people who know about politics get to learn more.  The people who don’t know about politics get to make a quick judgement, so they can utilize their vote.  The people who think they know about politics, but actually know very little (which is most of us), get the opportunity to learn a little information, and make it seem like a lot of information while having our own informal debates with friends, family, and co-workers.  It’s a win for everyone!