Whose house? Not Rob’s House!

Last night, there was an uneasy new development in the hullabaloo over Rob Ford. No, I don’t mean the coverage on The Daily Show, or the sexist jackass from the Huffington Post who accused a much more accomplished and reputable journalist of being “cute as a button” but not very good at her job. I’m talking about the planned sit-in at the Ford family’s house.

Now, I know the person, or one of the people, who’s organizing this protest. He’s a good man, and I’m sure he’s got the best of intentions at heart. I didn’t want to write this post, in fact, because I’ve already told him what a bad idea I think his protest is.

How bad an idea? Such a bad idea, for so many reasons. Within minutes of the protest’s announcement, my Twitter feed was all but unanimous in condemning it, which is something I rarely see.

And it’s not because people like me think we ought to leave Ford alone. If anything, he ought to be pursued more aggressively. The fact that he’s managed to evade the question for five days and counting is shameful, pathetic, and an insult to this city. The people of Toronto deserve an answer, even if it’s just another lie.

But in protest, as in politics, there are certain lines you just don’t cross. As a human being, you don’t take the fight to the one safe haven his humiliated family has left. And as a pragmatist, you don’t walk right up to Ford’s house and hand him a “get out of jail free” card.

Because that’s exactly how a protest like this would play out.

The worst-case scenario features a call to 911 and a host of ugly altercations. But it also features a suffering family, an easily-vilified left-wing mob, a news media that loves a redemption story, and a mayor known for using sympathy for his kids to his advantage.

The worst-case scenario, in fact, is Ford’s reelection.

And the best-case scenario isn’t much better. Ford’s not going to go out on his lawn and have a dialogue with these people. He’s not going to say “All right, you win, I smoke crack.” He’s not going to do anything close to that, and if the ultimate point of this protest is to express disappointment that he won’t, you can do that from your own house.

As far as I’m aware, the protest is going ahead as planned. You can find the details on the web, but I’m not going to link to them – partly because I don’t want to put my friend on the spot, but mostly because I don’t want you to go. If I find out they’ve moved it, I’ll tell you all about it.

Posted in Social Action

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