Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Rob Ford Fan

At work it's mostly all immigrants. West Indians and South Asians mainly. But lots of Jamaicans, Arabs, Africans too. Whites are definitely in the minority on the shop floor. It's a lot of fun. Young women from India innocently flirting with young Jamaican men. Chinese and Indian people speaking Hindi to each other. Comments about one another's cultures that have none of the venom of majority population racism.

We're not colour-blind. I'm "the hard-working white guy." If we're referring to someone who is Black, we say "the Black lady" or "the Egyptian guy" so newcomers to the place know who we're referring to.

Anyhow, one day I found myself working with one of the other white people there. An older woman who's been there for over thirty years. I'd seen her in the lunch-room reading the Toronto Sun. We talked as we worked. She's completely bought into the Sun's pathological hatred of Justin Trudeau. (I don't like Trudeau, but for different reasons.) She referred mockingly to his obnoxious selfies and the reports about the Chinese girls swooning for him at the G20 conference.

Out of nowhere she says "I miss Rob Ford."

I laugh and ask her why.

She says "Everyone liked him."

I replied: "I didn't. He ruined public transportation. He said he could $3 billion in gravy. He guaranteed he could do it without cutting services. Then he cut bus routes; talked about closing libraries. He was a total hypocrite about drugs and gangs."

I stopped myself before I ended up preaching. She, of course, had nothing to say. Her affection for Rob Ford wasn't based on any coherent understanding of his "policies" or their consequences. He was just a regular shlub. He wasn't slick. He spoke in ways people like her understand.

We work in silence for a few moments then her face twists into a snarl and she snaps: "I can't believe we've got 6 hours still to go!"

To me, this outburst was a reflex. An outlet for her frustration at hearing her beloved, dearly departed Rob Ford being criticized with damning (and damnable) facts. I don't think it was directed at me. She's too nice and polite for that.  It was just inarticulate rage.

Later, during one of the breaks, she pointed to a story in the Sun about some activists trying to get air-shows banned because they traumatize immigrants and refugees from war-torn countries. She sneered about immigrants being "upset." I said "traumatized." She said "Yeah, 'traumatized'" with the same level of contempt.

Not the slightest bit of empathy or any attempt to understand how maybe having your home destroyed and loved-ones killed by one of those deafening abominations might actually be traumatic and that the suffering caused by hearing the death-bringer again might be more important that the thrill of spectators.

You know, I honestly believe that Rob Ford genuinely cared about people who were right in front of him. Aside from his homophobia, I don't think he really hated any group of people. But he could not grasp abstract principles and he was too lazy and stupid to really figure out how things worked. And he could be the most caring person in the world one second and then a callous, boorish bully the next.

Such people should be able to vote. But there need to be filters in place so that they don't run for office. They shouldn't be pandered to. They can choose to vote for an "intelligent" (or at least non-Rob Ford/Donald Trump) sort of "conservative" candidate or they can stay home.


lagatta à montréal said...

He certainly hated cyclists.

thwap said...


A gay artist, who worked as a librarian and cycled to work.