As the media frenzy continues around city hall, akin to piranhas and a sacrificial cow, or crack addicts and, I guess, a giant rock of crack, I am sad and disappointed. I feel ashamed for the city's name that he is tarnishing; I also feel terrible as a parent. Somewhere in Etobicoke there is an eight year old girl and a five year old boy who are hearing all of this terrible, albeit true, information about their father who excuses poor behaviour because of being in a drunken stupor after months of lying. This is their dad. Suddenly getting teased because my mom sent me to school with my lunch in a Bi-Way bag doesn't seem so criminal.*
I grew up in a middle-class family in Etobicoke. I actually went to a rival high school of Mr. Rob Ford, only a decade later. I was also a friend and acquaintance to the children of several public officials. Even in the 1980's and 1990's people were keenly aware who these officials were and entire families were under a watchful social microscope.
One child I knew had their parents base allowance on community activities, alongside regular household chores. To earn your allowance these kids would have to shovel a neighbour's driveway or help that kindly elderly lady carry in and put away her groceries. As angst-ridden, "alternative" 14 year olds this would warrant complaints about parents (aka the man) "using" their children for political gain.
Fast-forward 20 years. From time to time I come across updates about these children of politicians via social media, or in person. I notice their spirited sense of volunteerism and community within this city. I see how proud they are of their parents contributions to the city of Toronto and how they in turn want to make this city great. I see their parents support their life choices and everyone involved thrive.
To the children of Mr. Ford: I am sorry that your father acts more like The Kool Aid Man than an elected official, making a spectacle of himself everywhere he goes. I am sorry that you will have to answer in the playground for what other people's parents are saying about your dad. Not only does the city of Toronto deserve better, so do you!
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*I know, first world problems, right?