This is Rob Ford. Most Canadians will know that on Monday he was convicted in a conflict of interest case and has been ordered to vacate his office, as Mayor of Toronto, in 14 days. Let me make something clear. I didn't vote for Mr. Ford. I don't like Mr. Ford's politics or his manner. I am not a fan. I believe the court made the right decisions because what he did was so obviously wrong that I can't believe his defence of, 'I didn't read the guidebook on conflict of interest' would even matter.
But this post isn't about Mr. Ford or his crime. It's about how Mr. Ford is being discussed. And more selfishly, how he's being discussed around me. It's obvious from the picture that Mr. Ford is a fat man. Don't you all be jumping on me for using the word 'fat'. Fat is fat. I am fat. I have no problem with the word, I have problems with how that word is valued.
Mostly over the day I was part of discussions about Mr. Ford's oust from City Hall, trust me it's a big talking point here in the city. Most people spoke about being embarrassed by Mr. Ford - because of his weight and what he looked like. They said this to me. They said it in front of me. They laughed as they made jokes about his weight and his looks. Again, in front of me. Several times in several conversations I said, "Um, I can hear you. I'm right here." And each time I was looked at with a degree of curiosity, like they couldn't understand what I was saying, or why I would protest. Several said things like, "I never imagined you for a Ford supporter."
I am not a Ford supporter.
However I believe that Ford should be spoken about for his behaviour, for what he DID that lead to the charge and the conviction. Not once. THAT'S NOT ONCE, did anyone talk about the actual case, in fact many didn't know what he'd been accused of, they just love the FAT GUY getting kicked out of office so we can have someone more seemly take his place. All this, to me, in front of me, around me, like I couldn't hear - or if I could I wouldn't have the temerity to speak up against that kind of shallow discussion about a fellow human.
Mr. Ford did something wrong.
And that wasn't having cheesecake.
And it wasn't midnight snacking.
And it wasn't fried egg and peanut butter sandwiches.
It was a decision, it was a huge political mistake, it was doing something wrong. Mr. Ford should have the dignity of having his actions, not his weight, be discussed. We should want a new mayor because the old one did something that ended in a court ousting him from office, not because we want someone prettier. Shouldn't we want someone more honest.
The degree of comfort that people have with their prejudices around certain kinds of difference is astonishing to me. Not once, when I spoke up, did someone apologise. Not once did anyone even look slightly embarrassed. It was as if they thought that I should join in because after all ... doesn't everyone hate fat people?
Even fat people?
Not this one.
I didn't vote for Ford because I heard what he had to say, I didn't like how he spoke to others, I didn't like his casual use of the 'R' word. It never occurred to me to make a decision for any other reason.
It scares me that the elections of the future might have a swimsuit competition.