Rob Ford will go down as an inspiration and a caution
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Sept. 23, 2014
Rob Ford—from the moment his crack-smoking images surfaced, to the outrageous sound bytes heard across the nation, to the jaywalking incident—has been a larger than life character. He’s been the butt of jokes and a resilient individual, and whether he wins his battle with cancer or not, whether he ever wins another election again or not, he will still be an inspiration to some and a caution to others.
Although Ford has been diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer, cancer itself is not that uncommon. The majority of us know someone who has been lost due to that disease and it can very likely materialize within our own bodies as well. It’s simply something we cannot control. Obviously nobody deserves such an illness, not even someone as unruly, pugnacious, and so unwholesomely dishonest as Ford. Nevertheless, as compassionate as I am, I do believe in karma and that the world has a funny way of implementing justice and reestablishing order.
Ford has lived a significant and successful life, not necessarily one to be ashamed of. He has a wife of over 14 years and two children. He was mayor of Canada’s largest city for a decade. But he also had many unlawful incidents and even admitted to being in a drunken stupor now and then, placing himself in regrettable situations. Ford proves to many that living the my-way-or-the-highway style of life is better than waiting for death. Ford did it big, and that didn’t happen by accident. He made choices, and that is something we—in our passive culture—often choose not to do because of our play-it-safe indecision.
Life is supposedly full of second chances; Ford had many more, and still reaped the bounty of wealth and privilege. The fact that he got away with so many potential career- and life-threatening scenarios is worthy of recognition. It goes to show that whatever we feel we have at stake, it’s not that high. We should take the risk. We should bet the house. We should be willing to lose it all, because we’ll have nothing in the end anyway.
Ford made bad decisions and became a sideshow in Canadian politics, but his attitude towards life is what’s worth noting. He didn’t back away from the limelight. He chose to leave an impression. He wanted us to care about the things he did, and we did. Above all else, Ford was an entertainer, a topic of discussion, and a snapshot of modern times. There aren’t many like him—and that is a shame.
At the end of the day, you want to live a life with no regrets. However, upon your deathbed, you are more likely to regret what you didn’t do rather than what you did. Ford epitomizes that theory, but not without consequence.