March 29, 2016

Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you”€™re starting to imagine Rob Ford as a kind of John the Baptist to Trump’s Jesus, you”€™re not alone. Ford’s death inspired a LOT of “€œcompare and contrast”€ think pieces to that effect, intended as cautionary tales, of course.

When it mattered, “€œFord Nation”€ turned out to be more like “€œFord Notion.”€ Cancer and rehab (and, arguably, everything else) forced Rob out of the mayoral reelection race. His designated replacement, his less-everything brother Doug, placed a respectable second in a three-way race, but Toronto reverted to type and chose another smug, big-spending, politically correct uptight patrician for mayor.

Anyone shocked by that must not remember how many of RFK’s supporters flocked to Wallace after Kennedy’s death.

Personality cults aren”€™t just a problem when the “€œpersonality”€ is someone you hate and who won”€™t die already, like Fidel Castro. They”€™re also a danger when the “€œpersonality”€ is our son of a bitch“€”and he doesn”€™t live long enough, or lives long enough to lose. In a flash, your “€œmass movement,”€ your “€œsea change,”€ is reduced to a damp, embarrassing carpet stain.

Anyone blowing their savings on a Trump lottery ticket, as it were, should brace themselves for a variety of disappointments. If he wins in November, despite my reservations, I”€™ll be delighted, believe me. (See “€œa necessary and even secretly thrilling antidote,”€ above.)

The trouble is, permanent cultural and political change of the sort the West dearly requires demands more thrust and momentum than a lone middle finger can bring to the fight. We need a fist. Toronto couldn”€™t make one. Can America?


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