Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Why I might one day run for mayor of Toronto

Today was a day spent mostly inside working, so I'll admit for tonight's post I was hard pressed to think of anything to write about. Until. I remembered a moment. Sat in my room, taking a break from the office, sewing something together furiously, and stewing for the second time this week, with the conclusion that even though I don't really want to, I guess I should run for mayor of Toronto.

You might ask yourself how I came to this conclusion. If you live in Toronto, I think you are probably also planning on running. That's the problem with the left - how do we unite ourselves?

Toronto currently has an absolute embarrassment as its mayor - Rob Ford. About 24 hours ago, this man inferred that a very intelligent and talented young woman, (a woman whom I happen to know because we went to university together), who is currently working as a children's author and had waited 19 hours to give her deposition defending the importance of public libraries in front of him, was a bitch. Let's pretend I don't know the woman in question. Let's even pretend that the word "bitch" is not unbelievably problematic as an insult only ever levelled at women, and often levelled at women to knock them down when they are on an equal playing field with men. Let's pretend it's a term that could be thrown at Rob Ford himself. I still don't understand why a mayor would insult a children's author for defending public libraries. What about that is bitchy? Past the fact that he is forced to listen to an opinion that he doesn't share and probably doesn't care about. Great idea to get into democratic politics then, guy. Seems like the perfect job for you.

The first time I'd considered running for mayor was earlier this week when his brother, Doug Ford, had claimed that Margaret Atwood was a nobody. Here was the platform I thought of running on - I'm tired of intelligent people on the left apologising for their knowledge, terrified that they may be called elitists. My platform would be one of absolute intellectual elitism - but an elitism that anyone could join in on, through affordable education and prioritising knowledge - putting libraries at the top of the list.

Healthy voters are constantly publicly denouncing unhealthy members of their electorate - making it increasingly difficult to smoke indoors and denouncing obesity and poor diets as a drain on the health system. If those people who prioritise a healthy lifestyle can publicly denounce the unhealthy, why can't I publicly denounce the unthinking, the ignorant, those who are literate but boast that they have never read a book?

Intellectual health is not a priority and is not applauded in the democratic system. In fact, it's not even expected of the politicians themselves - many who lose the sympathy of the voters if they seem too smart, or, a term that has been bandied about a lot, too academic. If I ran for mayor I would unabashedly surround myself with a team of educated, intelligent people, and I would appeal to the educated, intelligent electorate - because in Canada, there are a lot of them out there. And under my administration that number would only increase. Just as the Canadian system holds central the belief that nobody should be denied healthcare regardless of their income bracket, I would hold central the belief that all citizens should be granted equal access to knowledge and an education. I thought we already lived in a system that upheld that principle but apparently not...

I wouldn't align myself with any party in particular because party policies seem to be one of the major factors that contribute to the current disparate state of the left in Canada. As any thinking person could ascertain, I don't agree with every policy in any one party - so why align myself with an organisation I disagree with?

Just as the possibly awesome possibly crazy Jimmy McMillan ran for mayor of New York on a platform of "The Rent is Too Damn High", I would run on a platform of "I'm tired of Idiots" and I wouldn't dumb down my language or pander to any of the mythical "folks" out there. And a major tenet of my policy would be that the mayor and the mayoral staff not be paid any more than your average teacher, ever, because teachers are as important if not more important than politicians, and if you got into politics for personal financial capital, then you're in the wrong business.

The thing is, I don't even know if I would be a particularly good politician or mayor. It's taking me days to organise my room. But for the first time I'm actually certain that I'd be better than the guy they've got now. So I'd be willing. Toronto, if you want me, I'd do it. Just to get you out of this mess and remind ourselves that it's not a crime to prioritise knowledge and education. It's a right.

1 comment:

Sapphiraaaa said...

Just let me know when and I'll move there so you can have my vote.