Note: the Smitherman campaign has removed the offensive postcard so hate will no longer be a click away. Ford, however, has not publicly apologized for what he said. It's now 10 to 3 in Smitherman's favour.
Trick Number One:
Have you ever had an argument with someone who said something hurtful and they ended up saying, 'I'm sorry if what I said offended you.' Doesn't that just piss you off? It's kind of like a passive way of accusing you of being oversensitive and then drawing attention to the fact that they are big enough to apologize for bruising your fragile feelings. I overheard someone once call me a 'fat pig' in another language, I knew the expression and when I called them on it they said, 'I'm sorry if that hurt you.' Um, and you expected it wouldn't? So you can be outrageously hurtful and then be surprised that something said to hurt actually did hurt. Hmmmmm. So that's an apology? A lovely trick. Apology without apology and no commitment to change. As it has been said, 'Change is the only apology that means anything.'
Here's what Rob Ford said in his letter to Joe (he's not apologized to me): If you were offended by my comments, I apologize.
Um, Rob, I'd rather you commit to change and pledge to refrain from hurting us further.
Trick Number Two:
The next big trick is to diminish the offense by pretending to be a maverick and passionate and accidentally stumbling into the politically incorrect. I love how you can diminish your act by changing verbal abuse, the use of what many people with disabilities consider hate speech and an act of bullying into something 'politically incorrect'. Don't shine my shoes with shit! Calling names is known by 4 years olds to be wrong. Four year olds don't come running into the house screaming, 'Robby was politically incorrect to me.' No, they say, 'Robby HURT MY FEELINGS.' Being a maverick, being outspoken, is not diminished by refusing to use racist, sexist, homophobic or disphobic language.
Here's what Rob Ford said to Joe: I have always been an outspoken Councillor while doing my best to stand up for the people of Toronto, and occasionally I have said things that weren't politically correct.
Um, Rob, people with disabilities are part of 'people' and yes, they live in Toronto.
Your statement in the letter that you have respect and empathy for people with disabilities is completely lost when you diminish our concerns.
Trick Number 3: Talking? Is someone talking?
As to the Smitherman camp. Not a single email. At least Ford had the gumption to answer Joe's and many of yours, to me he said, 'I read your blog, you do good work' or something such. As I didn't hear from Smitherman's office, I called them. I talked to two women one of which said that she understood my point.
Um, Smitherman, get your people to answer emails. Um, Smitherman people, if you understood my point you might be moved to action.
So here's the score ...
Ford, I'm awarding one point for answering his emails. I'm awarding another point for an attempt at apology. I'm awarding a final point for reading the blog.
Smitherman, I'd like to give a point to the nice woman I talked to but since I had to call to get someone to call me back - and even then they hadn't read the emails or the blog that outlined the issue, I can't in all fairness.
So for handling the issue thus far:
Ford: 3 points
Smitherman: 0 points
Vita Community Living Services has sent out an open letter to the candidates and to the media and I have spoken to some organizations who will be weighing in on this and joining our protest. Again, we want apology and promise from Ford, we want the postcard removed and an apology from Smitherman.
Blog readers, it's not to late to join in. Write a letter, write a blog, if you work for a service organization get them to write something ... the addresses are in yesterday's blog.