Dear Marcus Gee,
Can we talk? Your column has been bothering me. I’m used to Margaret Wente writing the worst columns in the Globe every week. This week, you have outdone her. Wagging your finger at voters. Trying to mask your “I told you so” as genuine disappointment. Tailoring your column to student-types who’ll share it on Facebook as though that constituted some form of protest.
Yes, people voted for Rob Ford. And, increasingly in the 21st century, that’s all we hear about- “THEY voted republicans! THEY voted for the angry guy who hates streetcars! THEY clearly didn’t vote for Putin but we don’t care about robocalls because it’s too complicated and I like the idea of not paying taxes even though that’s clearly not going to happen!”
Tell me something, Gee: what’s your endgame here? Mr. Ford resonated with voters. They were angry, he was angry. Now they’re angry at him. He’s angry at stuff. Why are you avoiding telling readers that they’re angry because they’re angry? You know, on the inside? Is that too much truth for them? Are you worried they’ll turn on you?
You know you’re pandering to your own readership, those who see feeling annoyed as righteous outrage, people who support the picket line but wouldn’t join it because hey, that’s their fight. You know they never voted for Ford in the first place, and that anybody who did vote for Ford already knows what this column’s all about and isn’t going to read it. You know that nobody who elected Rob Ford is reading this. You know that it’s for his detractors. You know that open letters are about as passive-aggressive as it gets.
If you are even minimally self-aware, you know all of this. If you know all of this and wrote this column anyway, you have no excuse at all. If you aren’t even a little self-aware, how did you come by a job writing city politics columns at the Globe and Mail?
Please don’t say you genuinely believe this drivel:
When Mr. Ford was running for mayor in 2010, reporters and, ahem, newspaper columnists published dozens of articles on the many holes in his platform. They told you his budget numbers were wildly out of whack. They told you his plan to build a subway to Scarborough was all talk, no funding.
Look at me. When you say “They”, you mean yourself, right? You mean: Marcus Gee told you voting for Rob Ford was a bad idea. Marcus Gee was right, and people who voted for Rob Ford are wrong. Marcus Gee is the voice of people who did not vote for Rob Ford. Earnest, smarty-pantses are right sometimes. Now we’re mad because you’re mad at the thing you did and we kind of feel you have no right and should skip straight to being sorry. That’s what we want. Give it to us. We watched you be mean to the nerd kids so you wouldn’t do bad things to us, not because we agreed with it.
Now, thanks to Marcus Gee, we can hear all about how Ford was elected like it happened yesterday. For the entire time he’s in office. Because that’s all we care about: electability. Will they get in? Will we kick them out? Who will take their place? Nevermind that between these elections we have to live with whoever got in. Or, rather, we have to sit around and complain that they got elected in the first place, for four years. Why do I get the feeling this is all because whoever we vote for federally automatically gets to be Prime Minister for a decade? Is that what this is about? Are we all afraid that Rob Ford will be mayor for ten years unless we share this editorial like crazy on Facebook? Why does all political punditry seem so hypnotic and repetitive? Is there a more ironic way to end this paragraph than:
Still, the black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us view of the world.
Well, Mr. Gee, please allow your finger to wag. Because that’s what it’s going to do. In fact, you’ve given a wagging finger for all those who didn’t vote for Ford (they will) at those who did (they don’t know who they are but they, like you, have a good idea what they look like). You wrote. They posted it all over the internet. And now we all have to live with it.