All politics is local, but is all politics personal?

Today’s theme, at least for the next two entries, is of things political. Not just political, but personal. And how, in spite of the fact the one should have nothing to do with the other, just about every political event from election to debate to legislation in the House of Commons almost always comes back to someone’s supposedly personal motivations. Or, in some cases, personal dirty laundry that need not be aired.

Take the latest kerfuffle surrounding Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford as a prime example. According to various media sources, he’s been previously convicted of DUI. And by previously, they mean over 10 years ago. Now, considering in spite of DUI being a federal offense in Canada the most you’ll get in several dozen cases is a very light slap on the wrist, you’d think it wouldn’t be made into a huge deal. Particularly if, as reports have been saying, it happened in 1999. But then, he wasn’t running for mayor in 1999.

Now, okay, I can see folks sounding alarms if this guy was a real problem insofar as being well-known for having a few and then hitting the road. Or if he’d gone and did something equally stupid in the months or so leading up to, or during, his campaign. But let’s keep this semi-real, here. It happened in 1999. According to what’s publicly available, the guy’s around 30 now. Which would have made him 19, 20 at best, when he up and decided it’d be fun to have a drink or two and drive home–or wherever it was he was going after he decided to have a few. Or, as us non-political types like to put it, he was young and stupid.

Around that time I was 16 and right smack in the middle of my own stupid decision or two. Now, 11 years later, I’m no longer in that particular situation, and probably a couple degrees smarter for it. A whole crapload’s changed on my side in 11 years–and this guy’s not a whole lot older than me. But, because he up and decided to run stupid as a teenager, back when several hundred other teenagers were all busy doing pretty much the exact same thing. And now it’s a headline in a political campaign in Toronto.

I always figured all politics was local, but this t hing about all politics being personal? That’s new. Not altogether surprising, but new. And just one more reason you’ll never see my name on a voters’ balot–unless as a direct result of one hell of a technical glitch.

Update: Hey look. Another Toronto candidate has some dirty laundry she, or someone else, would like you to see. This one’s also 11 years old. Hey, I know. Let’s all just scrap the political system and pick the one with the better criminal record. Yeah, that’s more fun isn’t it?

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