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Monday, July 8, 2013

Via @cityslikr: #Fordfest, integrity, and the slow but steady fouling of the public sphere | #TOpoli

Another week, another stinking turd left floating in the pool of public conversation by Team Ford.

This time, it's the gathering of slack-jawed rubes best referred to as Ford Asspimple and the cynical hustlers lining up to herd them at Mayor Stupid and Brother Dumbfuck's annual fuck-the-rules shindig. Only difference this time is that it was in Scarborough.

I doubt anyone has the patience to go through the details, yet again, about it being an illegitimate early campaign event or a misuse of public resources. The Twin Morons obviously don't give a shit, and they've gotten away with everything so far, so why wouldn't they continue? Any attempt to hold them to the same standards as everyone else just plays into their victim narrative and fires up their base, so why bother?

Well, there's a very good reason to bother. Our friend @cityslikr makes a compelling argument over at his place today:

It enables flagrant disregard of any attempt to keep a level playing field for all members of the council and to reduce the influence on city business by unelected outside entities. Allowing the administration to continue conducting its dubious practices in order to not enflame the mayor’s base is as big an affront to democratic oversight as assuming the rules don’t apply to you is.

While I can't argue with him on that, we have to acknowledge that it's not without its complications. Yes, opening up the can of worms will consume energy, attention and oxygen, but really, does that make it OK to just shrug it off? As @cityslikr argues,

it’s inexcusable for the rest of us to shrug it off as part of the game. 

And that's the worst insult: after three years of this shit, we're left with scandal fatigue, cynicism and the temptation to just throw up our hands and ask rhetorically, in the best Tony Soprano fashion, "whaddayagonnado."

There's a larger and more worrisome issue here. It's not just about Team Ford's obvious appeals to stupidity and resentment, divisive agenda, or continual disregard for the rules. Fundamentally, Team Ford's worst crime is in the effect it's had on public conversation itself.

For the last three years, Team Ford's been cultivating a sour and enervating cynicism about politics, about citizenship, and about the efficacy of government itself. Amplified by the brayers of the tabloid press and the yellers of talk radio, the current administration has exploited resentments, played up divisions, pissed on the whole notion of being truthful, trumpeted its petulance and inability to build bridges, and turned ignorance, name-calling and stupidity into its standard operating procedure. It's taken a giant crap on the very notion of public life and public service, and in so doing, diminished our own expectations of our government and ourselves as citizens.

I've written before about the toxic effect this bunch has had on public life. Here it is again, in stinking Smell-O-Vision.

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