Mitchell Anderson writes that we're all living in Ford Nation now:
Mayor Ford’s puzzling popularity in the face of one salacious scandal after another seems to be propelled by his cheapening effect on values — and how that appeals to a morally lazy electorate. Like a pair of drunks egging each other on, Ford and his die-hard supporters are enabling each other’s bad behaviour, something that’s gone far beyond mere substance abuse.
Ford’s everyman appeal stems in part from how he makes it respectable to indulge our ugliest instincts. Don’t care about the poor? Neither does he. Are you a racist and a homophobe? So, apparently, is the mayor. Drive drunk? Who doesn’t?
We may not like it, but we get the government we deserve. And, if we choose to overlook our leaders' shortcomings, we have only ourselves to blame. What is true of Ford is also true of Stephen Harper, whose alliance with Ford helped propel him to a majority government:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a career of appealing to the smallest of human sentiments. The latest speech from the throne was notable mainly for its myopic focus on consumer trivia like cell phone rates and cable costs — as if the highest ideal to which Ottawa can aspire is to make it cheaper to tune in to Honey Boo Boo.
Many Canadians are now represented by politicians who share their unchallenged values. Harper is spending billions on prisons, untroubled by the evidence which says crime rates are falling, or that incarceration exacerbates criminality. Scientists somewhere are making depressing proclamations about climate change — but honestly, who has the energy to think about such things?
And what we accept as reality today wasn't always so:
Lester Pearson won a Nobel Peace Prize for his courageous diplomatic work inventing the now long-discarded practice of military peacekeeping. Pierre Trudeau battled political foes and provincial interests to ratify the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Despised by many during his remarkable life for such difficult and principled work, in death his casket was carried by both Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro. Even Brian Mulroney took a principled stand against apartheid and U.S. military intervention in Central America.
Harper and Ford's operating philosophy is ME: What I want is what I deserve. And when we elect them, we get what WE deserve.