What condition Ford’s contrition is in

Yesterday afternoon, Rob Ford apologized to Dieter Doneit-Henderson, an HIV-positive gay man, for his well-documented 2006 remarks about people with AIDS.  By the bizarre logic of the Toronto Star, the Rob Ford campaign, and of elections in general, Doneit-Henderson is a synecdoche for all those who could possibly have been offended by Ford’s ignorant comments. (I am reminded of the South Park episode in which Stan’s father utters the n-word on Wheel of Fortune, subsequently says sorry to Rev. Jesse Jackson, and is later admonished that “Jesse Jackson is not the emperor of black people!”)

In any case, why is Ford bothering to express remorse at all? According to an email sent out to supporters on Sunday night, his AIDS comments are only an issue because “special interests, lobbyists, and elites” want to distract from his fiscal policies. Here’s what it said:

So there you have it.  If you dare hold Rob Ford to account for anything he has ever said, it is because you love gravy trains and hate accountability.

And, really, Rob: If you’re going to cite your family’s personal connections to the family of the federal Finance Minister as a reason you’d be a good mayor, you have no business blasting “elites.”

photo by Scott Snider

27 comments

  1. I’m glad you’re holding Ford to account and I know you’re coming from a good place, but please note that we are not “AIDS sufferers.” I’m a person with HIV, who is otherwise a lot like you.

    Sure, I suffer here and there like anyone else, but I really don’t like that as a basis of a label. In fact, lots of HIV-negative folks in this culture suffer a lot more than I do.

    Might sound like a small point, but if anyone used the word “sufferers” whenever they referred to you and your community, it would feel a bit disempowering.

  2. I’m sorry about that, TC. I’ll change “AIDS sufferers” to “people with AIDS.”

  3. And, really, Rob: If you’re going to cite your family’s personal connections to the family of the federal Finance Minister as a reason you’d be a good mayor, you have no business blasting “elites.”

    …or claiming that you’re going to make City Hall transparent and accountable. I mean, how does a personal favour/personal friendship-based system of public fund distribution contribute to transparency or accountability??

  4. It would have been a GREAT article, if it gave Ford, the Credit he ACTUALLY deserves, for what WAS NOT PRINTED.

    But you can’t know about those moments, to your own credit, because they went down in the company of Rob, his brother Doug, David and Rick from The Star, in our suite, not because Rob was door-knocking or trying to get votes, both subjects were NEVER raised.

    We discussed, a few items, beyond HIV/AIDS, and how he can help as Mayor, in that respect.

    It floored me, to discover the REAL reason why he said no to HIV/AIDS funding in 2006, it’s just a shame that no one else will listen and believe, because if they would, this all, would make a lot more sense!

    We discussed an action, I recommended he make and add, to his Top5 policies, which will have the backing of Hundreds of Thousands of people with Disabilities.

    During Rob Ford’s visit to our suite, he showed me the most definitive version, of the definition of remorse, for comments he never intended to use to inflict pain on me, a person with HIV, or to use it against the Gay Community, EVER.

    Slitherman, apparently, has been lying to us for YEARS, along with others, by demonizing Rob Ford and because of that, I was actually scared, when he DID show up at my door, all alone, without ANY fanfare.

    I have never met such a REAL & DOWN-TO-EARTH politician, who’s done more than prove his fiscal position, is the best this City will EVER get.

    As a Gay man, who lives with HIV, I felt I had to either EDUCATE Ford, if he was misinformed, which he was – Or I needed him to understand, that I’d PERSONALLY make sure a WALL of BRICKS falls on him, before he ever get’s elected, if he’s Anti-Gay or Anti-HIV and wants to run our Great City of Toronto.

    It’s unfortunate, that despite all this, and that this happened as naturally as Birth itself, there are STILL those out there, who see this as “planned” on the part of Rob Ford, to get an edge, which is SO UNFAIR and such a patent mistruth, it makes me feel bad, for the backlash he’s now getting, for “not having done this sooner”.

    Do you have ANY idea how UNREASONABLE it is to say that, after Rob did what he did, with us yesterday and continues to do, today and beyond?

    Have you considered that the moment was never right before last nights event? Last night was PURELY unplanned, spontaneous and The Star are not going to lie and say the opposite, when it was David who made this all possible. It was ROB who ASKED if he could come to me and I granted him that possibility, despite having expectations that were ALL SMASHED, when I got to know the REAL, un-muted Rob Ford!

    Any Gay, willing to accuse another Gay, of being responsible for derailing the first Gay Mayor of Toronto? NO…I’d want to advance that and make history doing it, BUT, if I can only support George as a former friend, from within the Gay Community and in that he once, assisted me and impressed me for how on top he SEEMED to be, in the Health Portfolio… I cannot support the fiscal position that George has taken in the past, including the $1BILLIION he blew, which could have been used in treatment and research for the condition I live with.

    It wasn’t even MY IDEA, to do what happened last night, it was Rob’s, and luckily for all involved, I recorded that Speakered call, when Rob interrupted, literally, David at The Star and said, can I please come over and see you and talk about your concerns, face to face, so I can better understand your position!

    He did that and MORE!

    When you can get a politicians time, for almost over an hour, and for 30 minutes of it, that politician doesn’t say a word, except to listen, then THATS THE KIND OF POLITICIAN WHO GETS IT and if he didn’t get it before, he GETS IT NOW…

    Get over the past, because Ford wasn’t even TRYING to say no to “HIV/AIDS in 2006” – But George will continue and continue to use this against Ford and I know a decent and honest person, when I see one, and that person is Rob Ford.

    NOT George Smitherman who I feel is too hungry for power and less concerned with the people of Toronto!

    Much Love & Peace

    DDH

  5. No, I’m sorry to report that it’s not.

  6. Just because Rob Ford showed ONE person an iota of compassion after YEARS of spewing filth does not make him a good candidate. He’s a proven liar, drunk, ass, and any other word you can find to describe a egomaniac who is only running to make sure he gets his name in the press so he can run for the provincial Tories.

  7. If you dare hold Rob Ford to account for anything he has ever said, it is because you love gravy trains and hate accountability.

    And football…you hate youth football.

  8. Why does Toronto seem to vacillate between starry-eyed dreamers (Miller, Sewell) and right-wing clowns (a la Lastman) when it comes to picking mayors? Lord help T.O. if this tool gets in.

    What we need is a pragmatic centrist.

  9. That article in the Star was horrifying. How anyone who once tried to run for the NDP could support Rob Ford is baffling… the value systems are utterly at odds. The fact that there are a few clueless and easily manipulated gay people in the city doesn’t change the fact that Ford is a homophobic, AIDSphobic prick who is unfit to be councillor, let alone mayor.

  10. I’ve learned something NEW from Dieter. It’s important to put LOTS of words written in all caps when one wants to emphasize an IMPORTANT point. And here I was spending all my time trying to STRUCTURE a sentence. Of course, if your NOT careful, this all caps thing can get AWAY from you and soon you’ll be throwing in all caps words WHERE emphasis isn’t really required. It can become a type of drug, the potent HIGH of shouting in text.

    But seriously folks,

    One doesn’t have to look very far to find a reason to criticize Rob Ford. He’s the worst kind of populist, he flaunts any rules that doesn’t fit within his extremely narrow doctrine and is NOT (oooh…it works), in my opinion, capable of working outside that doctrine which will in turn make him incapable of representing a broad spectrum of Torontonians. The GLBT community is in good company with all the other interest groups in the city that wouldn’t get a moment of Mayor Ford’s time.

  11. I still have no idea why Smitherman is considered a front-runner, except that the media says he is.
    Ford may be a drunk and an ass, but at least we’d know who we were electing.
    (And Boris Yeltsin did just fine in his job, even though he was a drunk.)

  12. Crimson, I think you might be a drunk. That “at least we know what we’re getting” nonsense is the reason not to elect him! We know we’re getting a narrow-minded blowhard, so let’s not make him Mayor.

    Based on your logic, maybe we should run a mountain goat for Mayor. Sure it doesn’t have the power of conscious thought or speech, but at least we know what we’re getting. And think of the taxpayer money we could save on garbage disposal and lawnmowers.

  13. Paul: Doneit-Henderson didn’t run for the NDP. He attempted to get the 2007 provincial nomination in Carleton–Mississippi Mills but lost to Paul Arbour. The Star got it wrong.

  14. He didn’t represent them, but at that point he obviously was a party supporter if he ran for the nomination!

  15. Josh,

    “At least we know what we’re getting” is, of course, nonsense. I should have kept my despair about the mayoral campaign to myself.

    I guess my point is, that we do know who this guy is, which makes it easy to vote or not vote for him. I am, much to my own horror, tempted to vote for him, because so far no one else has convinced me they would be much better. “Better the evil you know” is a sad, sad state of affairs. There isn’t anyone who is looking to the future with any positive energy, there’s only the most base of divide-and-conquer strategies being put forth.

  16. Crimson: What, other than his plainness, would make you vote for Rob Ford? You really think the key to building our city is nickle-and-diming everyone’s receipts? That sounds like vision for the future? 

  17. Josh: frustration and despair. It’s pretty ugly.

  18. I for one am hoping that Keith Cole pulls off a startling come-from-behind victory. He’s far more inspiring than Pantalone, and not a giant douche like all the rest.

  19. Crimson: Uhhh…ok. So I ask what other qualities would make you vote for Rob Ford and you answer frustration and despair. Dang…you need some perspective in your life.

  20. Josh: Lighten up. My posts on this blog are not always 100% serious.

  21. To Josh Hind,

    Crimson Cross may need some perspective in his life but you are most desperately in need of a sense of humour.

  22. I’m not sure why so many people feel threatened by someone who is fiscally responsible. Sure, maybe he is just a regular guy and not a patron of the arts, but that really is no reason to neither endorse nor condemn a candidate. Give me a choice between a ‘visionary’ and a fiscally resposible candidate, especially in this economic environment, and I’ll choose the latter any day. With no money in the bank, visions aren’t going to pay for themselves and the feel good is wearing thin. Let’s get the spending under control and then we can start the dreaming because we’re in so much debt now, we can’t afford to close our eyes anymore.

  23. I don’t think its so much about Ford being a fiscally responsible politician; John Tory is one and many people across the spectrum like him.

    Its that many people find Rob Ford to be a bad politician and even worse person.

  24. I wonder why it is that those labels seem to stick to him more than they stick to others. I know this always becomes a right/left issue, but I personally found Miller to be an abysmal failure as mayor, yet it seems my friends who criticise Ford also believe Miller did a great job. All I know is year after year, I seem to have less money in my pocket and I’m getting more than a little disillusioned with all the parties. I’m now at the point where the bottom line is much more important to me than the culture and social graces of my elected officials.

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