Ken Dryden writes, in this morning's Globe and Mail, that Stephen Harper is the prime minister of Canada and Rob Ford is the mayor of Toronto because people are mad as hell:
People everywhere are mad. Mad at their jobs, mad at the money they don’t make. Mad at others for getting the chances they don’t. Mad at seemingly getting the short end of every stick. Mad at the mess around them: crime, litter, traffic. In stores, on phones, mad at being treated as if they don’t matter. Mad that others get away with everything they don’t, mad at not being able to stop them. Mad that life isn’t what they thought it would be. Even those who have done well – mad that others’ stick is longer.
And together, mad at all those people who have the power, or believe they do. People who think they’re so smart. Who know everything. Who study and analyze. Who have all the facts. Who sound so smug, so superior. Who make everyone else feel so stupid.
That's the great divide in our politics. Dryden describes that battle as a contest between the know-nothings and the know-everythings:
Each year, the gap between the know-everythings and the know-nothings widens – income, education, opportunity. And each year, the know-nothings have a choice. They can play the know-everythings at their game – information, compromise, opportunity – and lose. Or they can play their own game – outrage, disruption – and sometimes win, or not lose by keeping the know-everythings from winning.
Both Harper and Ford know how to play up to the know-nothings. This morning, Stephen Harper tells Global News that when he learned of Nigel Wright's cheque to Mike Duffy he felt "anger, betrayal, disrespect ... disappointment." And, every time Rob Ford opens his mouth, he proves he's a card carrying member of the know nothings.
The problem, as Andrew Coyne wrote earlier this week, is that knowing nothing leads you to a very dark place -- and to stupid government policy. From income inequality to the tragedy of Lac Megantic, the evidence of that stupidity is everywhere.
There is such a thing as righteous anger. But -- most of the time -- when people get angry, they get stupid.