Time to Canadian Up on Rob Ford
WINNIPEG – Opinion – I want to make a deal with you this morning. I want you to allow me talk about Rob Ford without playing any material from Jon Stewart or Jimmy Kimmel or Saturday Night Live. I want you to allow me to talk about Rob Ford without doing humor, playing recorded humor or laughing. There is a part of me that always always wants to be able laugh at things so we don’t take life too seriously.
You have enough problems to deal with in your life in your family in your business, in your career, in your job without me laying the lumber on you and staying in one gear the serious gear for more than a few minutes at a time. I got that. So I am asking you for permission to be as serious as a heart attack about this story. Nobody can look at the latest video of Rob Ford where he appears to want really really want someone to die, not to cry about some political move, not to suffer a political wound..He appears to want someone to die. He talks about “ripping his f__ing throat out”He says he’s gonna kill the f__ing guy and then says I am telling you it’s first degree murder” In the video he is gesticulating wildly, he is slurring many of his words. He is out of control. For legal reasons I will say this. We don’t have the context for the video. So it’s possible that he is impersonating Tony Soprano. It’s possible that this is just something he likes to do in his spare time when he is heavy into the sauce. He likes to perform.” There I’ve said all the legal things I am supposed t say in a country that respects of rule of law. I am not entitled to convict him of conspiracy to commit murder, of uttering threats, of anything. We don’t know who was referring to.
We don’t know who he was talking to and we don’t know whether whoever he was talking to acted upon the mayor’s wishes, aims, desires, fantasies. We don’t know.
Yes we can tell you about a certain person who was getting in the faces of the Ford family and suffered a severe beat down in prison. But we don’t KNOW whether what is on this tape is connected to the assault on that person. And now I want to stop talking about what we don’t know about the Rob Ford tape and talk about what do know about ourselves as citizens as parents as responsible human beings with good values. We do know that we would never want our sons or daughters ever working for a person with the traits exhibited in the video.
Do you want to work for such a person.
So let me introduce you to some very traditional Golden Rule thinking about not doing to others what you would not have them do to you.
If you don’t want to be treated that way, why would you as citizen ever go along with your fellow citizens being treated that way? And I ask you on this one to get outside of your mailing address.
Yes I am a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba as are most of you listening right now. But I am a Canadian first. I will always be a Canadian first. And this is a Canadian story and I cannot look at that tape and I cannot look inside my own soul and say Screw them. That’s Toronto’s problem. I have heard some of that recent days. Screw them. They think they’re the centre of the universe. They think they’re world class. They are Leaf fans etc etc etc. Park it. Just park. They’re Canadians. We are Canadians. I am a Canadian.
When I worked for several years in the United States I didn’t stop being a Canadian. There were things I witnessed down there that made sense to most of the people around me and made no sense to me and I just assumed that I was on some issues thinking like a Canadian. A little less than two years ago I went back to the country was born in, Hungary. I was there as a tourist not as a citizen. As you can imagine most people around me who were Hungarian had no idea that I could speak the language because it is my mother tongue and my parents couldn’t speak a word of English when they brought me here at the age of 2 and a half. So I was able to hear Hungarians communicating with each other in their own tongue and I heard certain things said in certain ways that reminded me that as Dorothy would say in the Wizard of Oz We’re not in Kansas anymore, the things I heard, some attitudes expressed made it crystal clear to me that We weren’t in Canada any more and that it doesn’t matter what my birth certificate says.
It doesn’t matter what hospital I was born in. What matters is which country my heart fell in love with. I am Canadian and whether the story is taking place on Portage and St. James in Winnipeg or Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto, if it’s a story that captures my Canadian heart, I care, I feel and I am interested and I am asking you to be interested. I cannot force you to.
You can choose to wall yourself off anything that is going on outside the perimeter. I am asking you not to do that. The boundaries of our Canadian hearts have to be larger than municipal boundaries. Your heart needs oxygen. But it does not require borders. Your imagination does not require municipal and provincial borders. I want your Canadian heart to be warm and generous and compassionate and borderless. It who we are and who I am and I am telling you that as a Canadian that there are 3 things that make me sick to my stomach about this story.
1) The man at the centre of the storm obbbbbbbbbbbvioiusly has a problem, a problem so large he should be in charge of anybody else’s life, since he clearly is not in charge of his own mind.
2) He should not to continue to be object of ridicule. Enough already. He needs help. He doesn’t need Late Night jokes. He needs medical attention. He doesn’t need the corner office job at hall. He needs a bed in a Canadian hospital.
3) He doesn’t a media that either crucifies him or glorifies him depending on whether it right wing media or left wing media. What Rob Ford needs is love. Real love. The love that my country can and should offer him at a time like that this.
When you love your fellow Canadian, you don’t want him to be abandoned in a hospital emergency room for hour upon upon upon hour with no medical attention. You don’t him to just sit there in his wheelchair until he stops breathing. When you love your fellow Canadian you don’t want her to be kept confined and isolated in small dark spaces and starved and beaten to within an inch of her death and then finally beaten to beyond that inch. We have inquires when this kind of crap happens, not because it’s against the law to treat people this way.
It doesn’t start with the law. It start with us. It starts with who we are. I was born in a country where many people were disposed of as unwanted trash, rounded up and shot, rounded up and taken away. They were unloved simply because they had the wrong religion, the wrong ethnicity at the wrong time. And it is why on the eve of Remembrance Day I thank Canada for having a set of beautiful values where little boys growing up in Dauphin and Brandon, and Selkirk and Beausejour and Winnipeg and all over this country came to the rescue of people who were marked for death in countries whose values became over time mangled, and mutilated.
I cannot thank Canada and the Canadian military and all the families who raised all those boys who were committed to sacrifice themselves in thy son’s command , sacrifice themselves so that others could live and be freed from the tyrants who wish to dispossess people of their property, and their own lives and their chidren’s lives . The reason that I am still able to speak Hungarian is ultimately because of my love for my maternal grandmother who I never would have gotten to know had she not been liberated by the Allied Forces and Canada gave her all to that mission. We were all in. They liberated her from the concentration camp and she survived and she went o work in a department store where she met a customer who introduced her to his 25 year old brother who had just been liberated a few years earlier from another camp a camp in the Siberian Gulag.
That man was my father and my grandmother saw kindness in his heart and she introduced him to her daughter who became mother. How do I thank the good guys in this country, the Princess Patricias and others who allowed all this to happen who gave me a chance to have a life and ultimately a Canadian life. My grandmother is now buried on Canadian soil and on her tombstone there are some words to memorialize the lives of two children her nephew and her niece. One was six and the other was eight when they died in a Nazi oven.
Nobody needs to encourage me to love this country. I can’t stop loving her or her people. I don’t know Rob Ford personally. I just know he is a fellow Canadian and therefore I love him too much laugh at him. Love him too much to continue to say he’s more fiscally responsible than most of his political competitors. I want him to whatever help he needs to restore his health and his family’s good name. His father was a kind and decent man. He was a good minister in a very good government in Ontario. I know that he would want the country he left behind , the country that did not leave my grandmother behind when she was gaunt and emaciated and sick. I know that Mr Ford would not want this country to leave his son uncared for and abandoned which is exactly what he is as long as he’s the Daily butt of jokes on the Daily Show and every other radio and TV show in North America. He doesn’t need to be on American TV. He needs to be on a Canadian Gurney.
Thanks again for allowing my Canadian Conscience to visit with yours.
My name is Charles Adler
Charles Adler is a national radio columnist, whose show runs on CJOB Radio in Winnipeg. Charles can be heard Monday to Friday online by visiting www.charlesadler.com.