Amidst all the finger-wagging, incredulity, outrage, shock, indignation, humor and drama in the Mayor Rob Ford saga there are many potential outcomes, two of them horrendous.
In either case, the Mayor himself would be the victim, but the city would be forced to live forever with the consequences.
First is the possibility that some supposedly civic-minded individual may decide to take matters into his or her own hands and rid Toronto of its perceived blight.
If so, they’ll be shocked to discover the swift justice that will descend from above and the degree to which public sentiment will retreat into a law-abiding agenda.
The media will climb all over itself in a mad scramble to the top of the moral high ground.
Editorials will embrace the mantra, “Yes, the mayor took liberties he shouldn’t have and traveled to some dark and strange places, but physical violence is never the answer.”
A second hypothetical result might see the mayor try to take his own life, either overtly or in a subversive fashion, by failing to look after himself properly.
Why am I going on in this grisly vein? There is a responsibility to say something when a fellow human being is obviously struggling.
In the past, there has too often been a reluctance to speak out in a blunt timely fashion.
Perhaps Mr. Ford’s basic DNA won’t allow him to stray in such a direction. His lifestyle habits, however, already suggest a lack of concern for his health.
There is every indication his self-image is too closely aligned with his job.
Such would explain his clinging to the trappings of office even as most of his real power has been taken away. And his stated intention to seek the same post again in the fall of next year, when clearly his best course of action would be to take a break, go into rehab and re-assess his future.
The problem is the Mayor has to want to change. There are few signs such is the case.
Unfortunately, with respect to some members of his family and close acquaintances ‒ as revealed in background checks ‒ he seems immersed in an everyday environment that is too accepting of drugs and bad behavior.
To the broader world, there is the mystifying impression that the citizens of Toronto are uncaring about the Mayor’s plight. The term “enablers” has been applied to describe our relationship with the train wreck in front of our eyes.
Not for a second, do I truly believe this is the case.
Most of the city wants the Mayor to do the right thing and seek professional assistance.
I’m no psychiatrist, but when heightened mania leads inevitably to sad reflection and deep depression, the offspring is usually something bad.
If stress alone can be a trigger for a downward spiral, there’s little doubt that Mr. Ford has stockpiled a full arsenal.
If a chaotic emotional state were to result in Mr. Ford’s further deterioration, it would be a personal tragedy.
There’s also a wider-ranging fallout to consider.
The Mayor’s meandering journey has become a world-wide story.
Dealey Plaza in 1963 established a misshapen template.
Rob Ford as a politician may have few similarities with John F. Kennedy, but there is one point of convergence. Similar to JFK, Mr. Ford does – at least for the moment – command a staggering amount of public attention.
For whatever reason – and a thousand-plus books have been written on the subject ‒ Dallas became the site of one of the most notorious events in American history.
The city will be forever linked with the ending of a President’s life.
I was born in Toronto, moved to London, Ontario, with my family as a child then returned to take up permanent residence here in my early 20s.
My ties with the city are strong.
I don’t want Toronto to become saddled with a Dallas-like stigma.
Let’s hope the media frenzy that is examining every nook and cranny of Mr. Ford’s life begins to dissipate.
Let’s further hope he comes to his senses and removes himself from the public eye while addressing his many personal issues.
The best long-term solution for Mr. Ford, as it has been for many celebrities, may be overexposure.
There’s always a next hot individual who will become the darling of the press soon enough.
Even Miley Cyrus discovered this truth when her antics were bumped from the front pages by a most unlikely source, Toronto’s own “twerk-fiend”, Mr. Ford.