Monday, 18 November 2013

Forgive me, another Rob Ford Blog

So, I’m going to write another blog about Rob Ford.

As I go forward, let me make the following admissions:
1.       I  don’t live in Toronto, so I have never voted for or against Rob Ford as Mayor. 
             (I live in Pickering and work in Toronto, so I have a vested interest if not a vote)
2.       I believe that Rob Ford is an over the top bully.
3.       I believe that Rob Ford is a liar.
4.       I consider myself a Christian
5.       I am prepared to forgive Rob Ford
6.       And… I secretly like to eat peanut M&Ms while watching trash television.

That last point has nothing to do with this blog, I just really wanted to get it off my chest.  
 (I feel so much better)

Please note that I don’t make any claims that Rob Ford is an drug addict or an alcoholic – I really don’t know – he talks like one, he makes excuses like one and he acts like one… but so do some sober people, so I can’t really say. 

Oh, and I don’t care.


Rob Ford has invited me to NOT care about his alleged addictions. He has emphatically told us (the public) to butt out… so, I am butting out.  Consequently, I don’t care.

Now, some would take that as a cruel “non-Christian” stance.  We should care about each other.  God loves us all and Jesus loved the little children, etc.  But I’m not sure that “Love” and “Care” are the same things.   Almost without exception, Jesus invites the people he heals to be part of the healing.  “Do you want to be healed?” he invariably asks.  When they say “Yes” they are engaged and part of the healing, sometimes they are invited to do more – but they are always engaged.  When they decide that they don’t want to engage, Jesus lets them walk away… he doesn’t stop loving them, but he stops caring because they do not wish to be cared for.  Jesus respects them as adults and lets them decide for themselves… In love, he lets them go.  I feel the same way about Mr. Ford.  In love, I am letting him go. I do not wish him ill, I take no pleasure in his pain… but I am respecting his wishes and no longer caring.

As long as I’m on a rant/roll here…
I noted that Doug Ford suggested that Denzil Minan-Wong was “No Christian” in his continued conflict with Rob Ford…Implying that a Christian would let bullying and bad-behaviour go un-challenged.   I noted also the Billboard of unknown origin that stood on the Gardiner Expressway for a few days in support of Mayor Ford included the phrase:  “let the one who has never sinned, throw the first stone”.  It’s too easy to mock the spelling mistakes or the un-authorized use of a Municipal Logo, so instead I will comment on the text.  
Is anyone really suggesting that we all need to be perfect before we are allowed to be critical?  Does my speeding ticket or the time that I had 10 items in an “8 Items of LESS” cashier line, mean that I can’t speak out against poor behaviour and/or bad government???  “Let the one who has never spelled incorrectly, wag the first finger!!”  (See, you know that I wouldn’t that one alone, didn’t you?)    

I have been told by good “Christians” that as a “Christian” I should forgive Rob Ford and leave him alone.  I think that the problem here is a fundamental misunderstanding of what “forgiveness” means, in a Christian or any other context.  Forgiving is not forgetting… When you forgive somebody, you don’t pretend like nothing ever happened; life does not go back to the way it was before.   Forgiving is when you “let go” of someone or something, it’s when you face the future and stop looking backward; it is when you stop kicking  someone in hopes that it will make you feel better or make up for the pain that they have caused.   I can forgive Rob Ford and still not believe that he should be Mayor.

I can forgive a child abuser and not allow him/her access to children. 

I can forgive a thief, but not give her/him access to my wallet.

In my judgement, Rob Ford is a liar and a bully.  He has not delivered on his promises and he has so “narcissized” his office (yes, I just invented a word) that his Mayoralty has become about him as a person and not about the agenda by which he was elected.  He doesn’t show up for work and by his own admission, he is often unfit to make responsible decisions.    

And I forgive him. 
I’m not going to keep kicking him in hopes that it will make things right or make me feel better… but he can’t be Mayor anymore: Either by legal means now, or by election next year.  And his not being allowed to continue as Mayor does not make us un-forgiving. 

If the same (admitted) behaviour was exhibited by a surgeon, you would not let her/him operate on a patient.

If the same (admitted) behaviour was exhibited by a company President, you would move to have him/her removed.

If the same (admitted) behaviour was exhibited by a husband or father next door, you would call the Police or Child Services. 
You would not “forgive” him, and let him act irresponsibly, dangerously, aggressively and recklessly with his children or spouse behind closed doors.  If you did, I would suggest that you are very “un-Christian” and care little for the more vulnerable, the potential victims.   I’m not saying that Rob Ford is abusive to his children or his wife –  I am using a metaphor - I am saying that he is dangerous and reckless with the people of this city and should only be allowed supervised access to Torontonians.

I don’t want to punish Rob Ford.  I don’t want to dwell on the past.  I forgive him and am letting go of the past.  I would gladly assist in his healing if he asked me.  I think that Jesus would approve… but I don’t think that he should continue in a position of authority or responsibility where there are vulnerable people – and Toronto is FULL of vulnerable people – that’s the very constituency to whom the government is responsible.

I invite you – nay, encourage you  - to make up your own mind about Rob Ford. Never mind me or  Saturday Night Live or the Daily Show… ask yourself if you think that he’s told you the truth often enough to be trusted; ask yourself if you would trust him to operate on or give important advice to someone you love; would you drive confidently over a bridge that he designed or built in the last three years?  Wonder if you would leave your children or your parents in his care…   and decide for yourself.  But whatever you decide, do no equate “Forgiving” with putting things back the way they once were; do not imagine that it is a synonym for “Forgetting”  and don’t tell me that continuing to take abuse is “Christian”… it simply ain’t so. 

P.S.  This song is not about Rob Ford.. and it contradicts much of what I just wait - but it did inspire this blog.

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