Everyone knows that it is pointless to get into a political debate on Facebook. Like “don’t read the comments,” the phrase “don’t argue politics on Facebook” is a contemporary universal truth. Reading the comments will make you physically ill. Arguing politics on Facebook will waste a perfectly good afternoon that you could have spent gardening. Besides, you don’t ever get anyone to ever change their perspective. A rabid right-winger who doesn’t think there is such a thing as microaggression and thinks that the “MeToo Culture has gone too far” is not going to end up marching with you on International Women’s Day. You can phrase things as calmly and politely as humanly possible, and back everything up with cites and sources, and still end up realizing you’re arguing with a troll.
But recently I did end up getting involved in a FB argument with someone who sounded like a right-wing troll, but actually turned out to be the best platonic friend of one of my close, feminist, educated, professional, women friends. It started when I pitched a brief Facebook fit of pique (on my wall, just to friends) over a recent interview given by Trump’s Canadian alter ego, a bizarre quasi-thug of a man named Doug Ford. In that interview, Doug had complained about how hard it is to “debate women” – specifically, the two women against whom he is running for a significant Canadian political office. Why? Because you have to be so careful what you say with them. Now hold on – stay calm – we haven’t gone back in time to 1953. It’s just Doug Ford talking. There’s no time vortex. We are actually hearing this in 2018.
Sadly, I have to try to explain Doug Ford, in order to give this incredibly long blog post
any context for non-Ontarians. Doug Ford lurched into infamy some years ago during the reign of his sorrowful mess of a brother, Rob Ford, as the mayor of Toronto. Doug was also a city councillor (he had the third-worst attendance record in council history), and then he ran for mayor himself, and lost. Recently, though, he has managed through the Machiavellian manipulation of the party-nomination system by a well-organized squad of evangelical Christians (and, possibly, through a stolen toll-road client list, but that’s just an allegation) to earn the party nomination for the provincial Conservative party, in the upcoming June election for premier. Normally, Ford wouldn’t have a chance, one would think: surely one would remember the Ford years at City Hall, and one would remember what a disaster (and global embarrassment) they were. One would remember Ford’s arrogance, ignorance, and that time he handed out twenties to poor people at a housing project as part of a campaign push. One would look south to where a man of similar wealth, temperament, and bullshit content is currently driving his country off a cliff. One would not want this in one’s province, in Canada. One would think.
But sadly, he has a very good chance. The Conservative party has substantial provincial support. This is likely mostly because of a burgeoning dissatisfaction with the previous provincial government – a Liberal one, under Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Liberals have several botches on their record, including what are locally known as the “gas plant scandal” and “the Orange scandal,” (neither of which are as exciting as they sound). However, the biggest bugbear is a significant increase during the Liberal reign in our electricity bills. The fact that the hydro bill increases are not entirely the Liberals’ fault, AND that the increases would have happened to the Conservatives too (because the Conservatives ALSO wanted to sell off hydro, and there are a lot of factors behind the increases) is lost on the populace. Ontarians scream about “Wynne’s Hydro Bills” like the Yanks screamed about Hilary’s emails. So the Liberals are pretty much out of the race for Premier. It’s between the Big Blue Machine (the Conservatives) and the NDP.
The NDP is the New Democratic Party. They are lefty. They are dogmatic. (They are also responsible for fighting for and winning many of Canada’s workers’ and human rights – including Canada’s beloved health care system, which Doug Ford’s proposed minister of health would – if she could – dismantle). Unfortunately, the only time the NDP was in power in this province, they may (or may not, depending on who you talk to) have fucked it up. There is considerable evidence that they were sabotaged by the other two parties in all their platform implementation efforts and that the steps they took to correct the incredible debt they inherited from – you guessed it – the Liberals were sound. They were also the authors of some significantly unpopular policies. But it doesn’t matter. The perception amongst us average folks is much simpler. It’s: “[grunt] NDP Bad, Mongo! [grunt].”
Now, that’s all just by way of background to what is hereby officially THE LONGEST AND MOST SELF-INDULGENT POLITICAL BLOG POST EVER. I suggest that you either turn back now, or – if you really want to proceed – that you have a pee first and then settle down comfortably. Because this will take a while.
So, in the middle of that political climate, I got into the aforesaid FB argument with a guy I don’t even know. Can I claim provocation as a defence? I mean, he read my post, cut-and-pasted into my friend’s page; then he trotted out some very nasty arguments, including complaining about how “the MeToo culture” was infringing men’s freedom of speech, and another lulu about how only the Conservatives care about single mothers’ hydro bills. I mean, I couldn’t possibly let that go.
So I went after this guy: a man whose profile wall is slathered with pictures of him and his other (white male) buddies tooling around the golf course in a cart, smoking cigars (while clearly worrying themselves sick over single mothers’ hydro bills). And he came back at me. And then my friend jumped in. And then Golf Cart Dude said something about Pride, and then even more people jumped in.
Finally, Cigar Chomping Golf Hero wrote a thesis explaining why we were all mistaken, we don’t even know Ford, we are headed towards economic ruin because of all these social services spending all the taxpayers’ money, and how only Doug Ford can save us. I should have walked away. But I didn’t. I wrote…the following. My friends told me I should share it on FB, but I couldn’t: it was eight freakin’ comment frames long! I mean, isn’t that why I have a BLOG?
So here goes: the reference to the “incoherent rant” is because Golf Guy said my angry and occasionally crude (e.g., I said, “ME fucking TOO!”) post was an incoherent rant. So here goes. (LAST CHANCE TO TURN BACK AND GO DO SOME GARDENING!)
Sir! Allow me another “incoherent rant” (dog whistle for: “woman is angrily using strong language in response to outrageous statements; must denigrate her delivery and/or call her emotional/incoherent/raving; anything but actually listen and attempt to understand.”) This time, I’ll use numbered paragraphs following the quotes from your treatise, to aid you with your navigation of multiple long sentences containing subordinate clauses and parenthetical asides.
1. “First of all, you have never met Doug Ford and your entire opinion of him is based on a caricature
you have made in your head.”
Not that this is relevant: we rarely “meet” politicians. Depending on the setting in which one might meet him (or any other politician), one might form a different personal opinion about the man. If he glad-hands at a meet-and-greet, and we knew nothing about him or his history, we might say, “What a charming fellow,” or we might say, “Goodness, he gives me the creeps.” Both would be subjective assessments and – again – irrelevant as to whether he would be a good choice for public office and all that that involves.
However! Voters “know” Doug Ford because of how he has conducted himself in politics and society in the past. For instance: if he hands out twenty-dollar bills while campaigning for his brother and then claims he doesn’t see why that’s improper but says he will switch to Tim Horton’s cards instead, that would reveal a level of ignorance, of dishonesty, of lack of suitability for office (it being, clearly, vote-buying), that would carry forward in making judgments about him in the future. One would watch for that sort of behaviour (disobeying of campaigning and election process and rules) and see if it occurs again (which it has).
Ford’s response to a question from a reporter respecting the fraudulent use of stolen 407 personal information (still under investigation) was mostly talking points, instead of answering the question, which was: are you going to remove the 29 candidates who have allegedly paid for and used this stolen data to improperly elect those candidates. Instead of responding, he self-aggrandized how he took “immediate action, I always take immediate action” in removing the one candidate allegedly responsible for the theft/misuse (in fact, the candidate resigned, and denies any wrongdoing: he was NOT removed, he says).
Ford is also producing and distributing a series of faked “news reports” which are distributed on the internet as paid-for advertising. They are not identified as advertisements, but are presented as mainstream media news reports. In another incident, Doug Ford also claimed having no knowledge of the hiring of actors to pose as supporters at one of his rallies, and claimed he was “looking into it.” To date, he has not done any such “looking into” that has been reported. To add an even more interesting twist on the paid-supporters? They were paid less than the legal wage.
There are many more examples of unethical and unscrupulous behaviour on the part of Doug Ford, which preclude the necessity of actually meeting the man in person in order to make a judgment on whether he has the basic scruples necessary to look after the public trust. Some of these behaviours reveal a propensity towards thuggishness. For example: there is the incident (which I watched unfold live, but I will provide sources other than my own observation) during the Rob Ford years, when a vote was being taken to reduce Rob Ford’s powers, after unprecedented mayhem and dysfunction at the hands of Rob and his brother had ground the city to a halt. At that vote, Doug Ford and his brother paced menacingly back and forth in front of the gallery of observers in City Hall – some of whom were calling out “shame, shame” – glowering and pointing at them, while their burly “driver” took video of the gallery and paced along with them. Doug Ford got into a shouting match with a constituent, calling the man a “punk,” and accusing the people who were protesting the actions of the Ford mayoralty of being “union supporters” and not “the real people of Toronto.”
It was at that same meeting – which the Fords deliberately turned into a shameful chaos – that Rob Ford bowled over an elderly councillor, leaving her with permanent injuries. Ford did not apologize but instead said that he had to go help his brother Doug. Neither man expressed any shame whatsoever for turning a publicly-funded, legitimate, and necessary process into a global embarrassment.
One can only base one’s assessment of someone – whether one “knows” them – on what the person reveals. Doug Ford has revealed a great deal about himself. Not that it’s relevant, but I grew up in Rexdale, and my mother still lives in Etobicoke. We are all too familiar with the Ford family. Suffice it to say that the well-researched (and unchallenged, legally, by Ford) investigation into Ford’s private business in unlicensed pharmaceuticals has more than a mere air of credibility to those who lived in Etobicoke during the relevant period. It is also telling that having been the subject of such a damning investigation, Ford declined to bring the defamation action he so loudly said he would bring. He said it was because he was a “little guy” who didn’t have enough money to challenge the allegations in court. Yes, he claimed he was too poor to bring a lawsuit for defamation that might – MIGHT – cost maybe fifty grand (yes, I’m pulling that particular number out of the air, based on my experience as a litigator).
I would end, but one more (I keep stumbling across these ethical/improper behaviour/thuggishness issues while sourcing material): in December, 2016, Doug Ford was found to have violated his ethical responsibilities as a Toronto councillor. Here is the original report from the Ethics Commissioner.
It seems one does not need to MEET Doug Ford in order to KNOW Doug Ford. One knows he is a dangerous incompetent with a slippery approach to the truth and very poor ethics. He is a terrible public servant. He is ignorant. He is brutish. He is badly-behaved. These are not secondary observations: reports and rumours. These are what we can see and hear and KNOW of him. That anyone would still support him is baffling, especially anyone with ethics themselves.
2. “There is absolutely no evidence he is any kind of misogynist – you know nothing about him except that he said Kathleen Wynne has a nice smile during a debate (which is clearly false).”
Doug Ford’s repeated (at least twice ) comments about Kathleen Wynne smiling are creepy and manipulative. Telling women to “smile” is just one of those many, many ways to keep them in their place, which is as attractive creatures that are allowed into the sphere of politics (and elsewhere) only if they play by the rules (don’t be unattractive; don’t be angry; make sure you SMILE).
Men do not tell other men that they have nice smiles. Women’s appearance and facial expressions should be totally irrelevant to all political discourse, but sadly, it is a primary source of criticism and always has been. Commenting on the appearance (the dress, the looks, the weight, the facial expressions) of women politicians is commonplace and highly sexist, and even other women buy into it, saying that they would like so-and-so if only she could smile once in a while. Doug Ford knows exactly what he’s doing when he keeps poking at Kathleen Wynne with “nice smile.” It’s a condescending little jab, attempting to unseat her. Fortunately, Wynne is just too smart and classy to “bite.” She just says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about: “I’m not sure what my smile has got to do with making good policy,” she responded. But working women around the world know exactly what he’s doing. And yes, it’s the sort of thing done by “any kind of misogynist.”
In other news: Doug Ford calls a reporter “a little bitch.” Doug Ford fails to replace or challenge candidate who published racist and sexist material, now claiming he was mentally ill, Doug Ford would (if he could, but fortunately we have a Constitution) curtail abortion services and would allow picketing at family-planning clinics, and more.
But probably the most damning misogyny is revealed by what he said in the interview that originated this thread: he is VERY careful about what he says. If he said what he was thinking, what he REALLY thought about women, feminism, women’s issues, the anti-sexual-harassment movement; if he used the language and said the thoughts that are right there in the forefront of his antiquarian empowered SWM brain, he’d be exposed very quickly. His brother, for instance, raised in the same family and under the same circumstances, did not have the same self-control and had a tongue loosened by drug and alcohol. But Doug Ford is canny and cunning. He knows not to say anything hugely sexist. But in this interview, he reveals himself: he reveals that he is hiding what he really thinks. Paraphrasing: “You [men] have to treat women differently; you have to be careful not to piss them off. They’re dangerous. They’ll change things. If there’s too much change, men might not be the bosses anymore. So: be careful. Women have power nowadays. Don’t say what you really think. Be sneaky about it; get those insults in the back door. Hey – tell them they have a nice smile.” Source? The video above.
3. “There are many anecdotal stories about people devastated by Hydro prices; it is not just a few dollars and it is unfortunate that you minimize how much harm high Hydro prices have caused [to single mothers].”
Please cite one source (anecdotal is fine, but give us a source) of the “devastated” single mother you are so concerned about. That’s a very powerful verb: are you talking financially devastated? Bankrupted by the hydro bill at their rent-subsidized apartment (which is rented hydro-included)? Who is telling these stories? Yes, I want names. “My friend Dick, who runs a doughnut shop on Parliament, had his hydro bills increase 22%. It meant he couldn’t install a new fryer.” That sort of thing. Because of all of my “anecdotes” from my circle, myself, are of people who are merely crabby about the higher bills – irritated, put out, but not “devastated.” And – I expect, unlike you – I know actual poor people.
Of course hydro prices are a problem. The privatization of hydro was a huge political risk, and it turned out to be a blunder. But the PCs would have sold it off entirely. Doug Ford’s claim that he will fire the executives is ridiculous; another “big lie.” It’s a private company. He can’t fire anybody at hydro. He MIGHT be able to dismantle the board, but they are all under contract and there would be huge financial repercussions. They would also have to be replaced, and that would also be expensive: because of rich greedy people who run enormous shareholder-operated businesses being unlikely to be party to a “public trust” work ethic, CEOs and so forth cost a fortune. I find it pretty damned disgusting but hey, that’s “business,” and as we have all heard so many times, Doug Ford would run things “like a business.” That he doesn’t know that he can’t fire a BOD without (a) paying a fortune in contractual penalties and (b) replacing them with equally-expensive directors should be food for thought when arguing that electing a “businessman” as an official operating in the overall public trust is a good idea.
Over to the use of the word “devastated”. I did find a reference to the idea of the devastated poor and their hydro bills, but it is oblique. A search of the verb “devastated”, “poverty” and “hydro” reveals this story of how badly a food bank is being hit by the higher bills. The fact that a social charity like a food bank is compromised by high hydro rates is definitely concerning. But voting PC wouldn’t solve the problem of the need for food banks – that in Ontario, food bank use is one of our shames. We have grown to accept food banks as something that poor people use as their Loblaws.
Yes, something has to be done about hydro rates, and no, Doug Ford doesn’t have anything to offer in terms of solving the problem – which would have been as bad or worse had the PCs been in power. We wouldn’t even own the 47% of hydro that we do own – we wouldn’t even have that income (hydro DOES make money – that’s why we sold it – it’s a going concern, and arguably, we should never have sold it, except now we earn money FROM it, so it ain’t that simple. Which a lot of people don’t like/understand – they want it to be simple – just fire Wynne, and Doug will fix it! Oh yeah? HOW?)
4. “50% of the population is female and you do not speak for all women. Many have priorities different than yours and will vote for Doug Ford. If you want to call them traitors, so be it. That is a common tactic of the left, to demonize those that think differently than them and ascribe evil motives to them. In a recent poll, 35% of women said they would vote Tory – a plurality. So many enlightened women don’t agree with you whatsoever.”
Actually, more than 51% of the world population is female, and depending on where you are located in the province, it might be more than half, and it might be less. Women are certainly over-represented in assisted-living homes (for the elderly), in subsidized housing, and in poorer rental neighbourhoods. And on the contrary, we DO speak for all of them: we are the ones fighting for their housing, their daycare, their reproductive choice, their safety, their education, their civil rights. Many women still vote Conservative despite the “lefty” women continuing to ensure that they have rights, which the lefty women often do without smiling and looking attractive, which confuses many men and women. But nevertheless, we persist. We persist for all women. It’s unfortunate that some women are willing to take everything we fought [against the conservative thinkers] to obtain: birth control, job equity, parental leave, property equalization on separation, the freaking VOTE, changes to rape law (until 1968, a man could legally rape his wife; she had no right to say no), day care, and on and on. We didn’t fight for the vote and then say, well, only women who fought with us – who also marched and sang and were martyred (yes, there were martyrs for female suffrage: Emily Davison and Inez Mulholland) get to vote.
I wouldn’t say that the women who take all these benefits (the equal pay, the right to wear whatever you want, the right to say “no”) and then vote Conservatives are traitors. But hypocrites? I would go that far. (I would also challenge them to not vote, since it was women involved in social justice and liberal thinking who fought so hard and for so long to earn them that vote, and if they don’t want it, then fine. Don’t use it. If they don’t want rights, fine, don’t take them. Don’t take what you didn’t earn, and then turn your backs on the people who earned it for you. Just a thought.)
I looked up the source for your claim that 35% of women would vote for Doug Ford. Setting aside that that would mean that 65% of us would NOT, it is interesting that you cherry-pick that figure as a positive thing. What the poll reveals is that just as many women would not vote for him, and that educated women (educated PEOPLE, actually) would generally vote for Liberals or NDP. There is a huge gender divide with the Conservatives and it is only because of the Liberals’ botching under McGuinty, and the whole “hydro hydro hydro” wail, that the PCs have any chance at all.
5. “Conservative and neo-liberal economic policies have created great prosperity for everyone, including women.”
Please name an unbiased source: NOT a right-wing thinktank. The saying “conservative times are hard times” is an aphorism sourced in Canadian experience. WHICH neo-liberal economic policies? How do they tie to Ford’s platform? Which women? The rich women who are educated and professional? The single women? What prosperity for which people? I certainly wasn’t seeing that prosperity as I handed out sleeping bags to the homeless last winter.
Sure, there’s lots of prosperity in the hands of the double-income kids with downpayments from the Bank of Mom&Dad buying a million (or two) dollar house, leveraged to the eyeteeth but coasting on that low Bank of Canada rate. “Great prosperity for everyone?” Great prosperity for men in golf carts smoking cigars.
Not so great for the old man on the floor in the church shelter downtown, who lost his apartment to gentrification, and at the age of 67 finds himself homeless and helpless, dragging his suitcases from shelter to shelter. How do your conservative and neo-liberal economic policies help HIM? Tell HIM about your “great posterity for everyone” (remember to take your cigar out of your mouth first).
6. “I find it so funny you think the minimum wage hike helps poor women – the reality is that at the margin, the woman (or man) who would be willing to work for 11-12 dollars per hour can’t get a job. So someone who could have dignity and get into the work force, where they then could advance, is left reliant on social assistance or worse because of the asinine minimum wage raise.”
Insisting that all employers pay a decent living wage has always been a battle. Nobody is “willing” to work for $11 an hour: they are FORCED to do it, because they’re desperate. That’s not a choice. People work two to three minimum-wage jobs. A raise in the wage to a decent level would help somewhat. No, it does not solve the overall problem of underemployment. And your remarks respecting “getting into the work force where they could advance” shows condescension and ignorance of what the job market is like nowadays. The old idea that you entered a work force and worked yourself up is long gone. There are no more “jobs for life.” Employers use contract labour and multiple part-timers, trying to AVOID having to get involved with a dedicated work force, which is expensive (all those benefits!) and risky (what if I want to fire them? they might have rights! they might sue!)
I’m still trying to get how you managed to logic yourself into “the minimum wage raise has caused people to go on social assistance and worse,” but are you saying that people went on welfare because of the minimum wage increase? Say WHAT? Source, please – source!
In trying to source it for you, I did find a Stats Can report that between December 2017 and January 2018, there were 59,000 fewer part-time minimum-wage jobs, and 43,000 more full-time jobs. Although several right-wing sources crowed that the January wage hike was the cause, the Stats Can analyst said that was leaping to conclusions. Also, despite all the fear-mongering, there is evidence that the minimum wage hike brought to Alberta had minimum effect.
7. “Me, and many conservatives, do care about single moms, the poor, and the vulnerable in society. However, as adults, we understand that the government does not have unlimited funds to pay for every last want and need, nor do we appreciate our hard-earned dollars being wasted on government insiders and marijuana store logos.”
Well, that’s a big one. “Of course we care. But we don’t have the money. And we’re the grownups, and you’re the children, and we don’t want to give you your allowance – because of…uh…marijuana store logos!”
I’m a little staggered to even attempt to respond to this without going on another cuss-filled tirade, which I know you have trouble absorbing, because angry-woman-responds-passionately-to-incredibly-stupid-statement seems to shut down your brain. But let’s see:
No, you don’t really care. If you really cared, you’d be doing something for them. And not just joining the Kiwanis club so that the hospital gets a big cheque. Really doing something. In the trenches. Finding out who the poverty workers in the city and country are, and finding out how to help them. You don’t give a flaming crap about impoverished women with their four kids, no daddy, and one of the kids has a drug problem, and another’s autistic, and there are rats under the sink at her subsidized apartment. You wouldn’t lift one finger to help her, and you’d blame her for her circumstance. The typical conservative response would be along the lines of: “What’s she doing having all those kids? Couldn’t she have had an abortion (on her own dime – I’m not paying for it!) And I’m not responsible for her rotten kid’s drug problem. Put him in jail. The youth crime laws are too loose anyway. Autistic? Aren’t they the kids who make so much noise? Doug says those are bad! Rats in the subsidized housing? She should be glad she has an apartment – lucky to have it when it’s taxpayers who pay for her – we’re not made of money! It’s our taxes paying for this welfare bum!”
You don’t think that’s what you sound like? Yes. That’s exactly what conservatives sound like. “We care, but we don’t. We’re the adults.” Pretty shocking.
8. “Ontario is seriously headed for a debt crisis – ask Greece how the social safety net does during periods of forced austerity. Just like in a household, it is better to be prudent now, than in crisis later.”
The hyperbolic comparison of Greece to Ontario is just not worth commenting on. However: yes, it appears that we have a large debt and that has to be dealt with. That is not dealt with by cutting revenue (10c of the gas and no plan for replacement revenue except “more people will get in their cars and go shopping?”)
It is also not the fault of “social services” that there is ballooning debt. This has always been the go-to of Conservative governments when they cause bad economic times: blame those poor people and their safety net! Yes, there have been a number of bad decisions made by the Liberal government, including possibly selling off hydro, and of course McGuinty appears to have been more than incautious. But this is not the fault of the poor and it is not the fault of social services.
Cutting taxes for the rich (only those earning more than $100K a year will see any material benefit from Ford’s touted tax cut) and for corporations is just that old trickle-down blah-blah that has left the United States a two-tier society with the very poor on one side and the very rich on the other.
It is not imprudent to invest in social services: on the contrary, failure to support education, health care, the environment, affordable public transit, rental housing, accessible justice, and more only causes suffering and polarization and more (expensive) needs. The money still gets spent, except it gets spent on things that the Cons’ supporters want. Turning farmland into swishy shopping malls. Superhighways. Golf courses. Corporate tax cuts. Courting big business development without a thought to job development or security. Sprawl and spend and consume and bejewel. Cons are not careful with money: they just make sure they keep it close and don’t give any of it away (except in measured, optional, tax-deductible, charitable doses).
Your comparison to a “household” is grossly simplistic thinking. But let’s work with it. Try to picture a house built of rocks, wood, grass, brick, planks, on multiple levels and different foundations; some of the rooms have leaky roofs, some have mould, some are opulent and overlook a beautiful vista; others are used for storage, or for heating; some are full of hungry children and others haven’t been lived in for years. What’s more, the house has multiple owners: some of them are absentees, some of them are relegated to the damp basement, some come for a visit and then leave. Others are elderly and can’t get up the stairs; others are sick but are living in the room without heating. Some owners are devout and won’t live with other owners who are not devout. They all have needs and they all live in the same house. Not all of them have the same amount of money to give; some of them are a bigger drain on the household finances. Some of them are generous and are concerned and want to share; others lock the door to their room and only invite in the people they like, where they feed them brandy and complain about the noise the autistic kid is making in the room next door. Everyone is upset, everyone is worried, everyone is needy (even the brandy-sippers; they have needs – more brandy!). So they try to decide on someone to govern the house.
And who will govern that mess? It’s not an easy job. It’s far more complicated than “a household.” It’s not a business and it’s not a household. It’s a province. Or a country. But what is needed is care. Real care. I do not believe for one moment that Doug Ford cares. He might make himself feel good by having a party for little black kids at his luxurious cottage for the last three summers. “I brought 80 kids from the black community up to my cottage, every single year for the last three years. These kids have never been to Muskoka in their lives. These kids have never put their foot in a lake before, they’ve never been on a jet ski before, they’ve never been out fishing up north.” And he thinks the way he’s talking shows that he’s forward-thinking and wonderful and some sort of white saviour.
It’s vomitous. But most Doug Ford voters would think he’s wonderful – including some of the families of the kids who mistake charity for equal rights.
9: “You and your leftist friends consider yourself enlightened, and ascribe evil motives to everyone who thinks differently than you (dinosaurs, for example), you really want to take society into a regressive state where people are judged by superficialities instead of their character, their decency, and their individual actions.”
“Enlightened?” That’s a big word. You mean the Buddhist sense of enlightened? I think you might mean “informed” or “educated.” Or “experienced.” Not enlightened or superior or the like. Just more interested in the downtrodden, the marginalized, the ones who slip through the cracks. We’ve seen things, been places, fought the injustices, helped people up. We’re gay, we’re straight, we’re trans, we’re non-gendered, we’re black, we’re poor, we’re rich. And we’re interested. We want accessible justice. Affordable housing. Wheelchair ramps. Job training. Religious freedom. Homes for the aged. We want to figure out how much it will cost and figure out how to pay for it – all of us. We are the ones who have fought for freedom of speech, fair divorce laws, criminal justice reform, safe washroom facilities for atypically-gendered individuals, the weekend, public vaccination programs, health care, equal pay for equal work. Gay marriage. Reproductive choice. All of it. We fought for it.
A lot of conservatives say and do horrible things and then complain that they are being judged. “You don’t even know Doug Ford,” you started off by saying. And I don’t know you, either. I hear you’re a nice fellow under all this strange, twisted, backward, harmful, money-money-money thinking. I’m sure you are. I’m sure you love your wife and your kids (probably you don’t have a husband, but stranger Cons have happened) and you give to charity at the Golf Club’s annual Christmas drive. You’d probably be the type to ask little black kids to your cottage and then boast about it. No, wait, that’s Doug Ford.
I grew up in Toronto in the 60’s, a time when birth control was illegal, when a man with a black face was stared at as the “other”, when we were so uniformly Christian that Eaton’s drew its curtains over its display windows on Sundays. In those days, I was told by many (not my mother) that I could not be a lawyer because women aren’t lawyers: our choices were mother/housewife, teacher, and nurse. The only “out” gay kid in the school was regularly beaten up. People drove drunk because there was no public education about it. I remember my mother even having to pay for a trip to the doctor (a very faint memory). Men were constrained to be manly; women had to smile. We girls weren’t even allowed to wear trousers to school (not “feminine”). My mother was fired from her job when she got engaged. A pregnant neighbour was “sent away” to have her baby. Disabled people were confined to their homes and by their disabilities – there were few efforts to integrate those with hearing impairments (they were called “dummies”) or with intellectual limitations (“retards”), and navigating the city in a wheelchair was impossible. Our neighbourhood had Canada’s first black MPP – Leonard Braithwaite – and some of us were very proud of that. Others called him “that nigger.”
Identity politics? Not scared of that. Not at all. Not even sure what it means, except if it means that I have respect people’s identities, well, yeah, okay. I’m down with that.
But what’s really scary? Really backward? Doug Ford. He got into the place he is now by the machinations of the Evangelicals, and possibly by voter fraud (see cite re: the 407 breach and the use of the data). That many people believe he is there to help them is very sad. But as a lawyer, I had many clients who had been the victims of fraudsters. They were all so bewildered when they came to me, having had their title compromised, or their bank account stolen, or their investments drained. They couldn’t believe that they had been so fooled.
I don’t even know Doug Ford? Yes I do. I know him all too well.