Why all politicians should be like Rob Ford

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Pranav Parthasarathy

I’d like to say that I was shocked when I read about the whole Ray Rice scandal, but I wasn’t.

I mean, really, we knew this guy had beaten up his then-girlfriend back in February. TMZ (the gold standard of American journalism) released a video showing Rice dragging his beaten girlfriend out of an elevator. Rice was consequently indicted by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault, with a possible jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000.

But then the strange stuff starts happening.
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About a month after this whole fiasco, on Mar. 28, Rice married his girlfriend, Janay Palmer. Yes, the woman who brandishes a possible three-year prison sentence over his head is now his wife. Totally logical.

Meanwhile, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell waits around five months to suspend Rice for a whopping two games. That is the same penalty the NFL levies upon players who are found committing substance abuse. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think an abuser of a substance and an abuser of a person deserve the same treatment.

The sad part though, is that even basic common-sense morals would tell us about the problem here. Violence against women is wrong. Yet violence against women is common — according to the United Nations, up to 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet even considered a crime. Yet the NFL, the biggest league in America, refuses to identify and attempt to fix the problem until TMZ and the rest of American football viewers (basically the entire country) breathe down their necks, at which point it is necessary to make the change. If he plays well, keep him until we can’t.

And yet we have other utterly inflexible “values” which we choose to apply selectively and rather harmfully. Remember James Foley? The brave journalist whose beheading has reignited the countries’ desire to kill ISIS? Said terrorist group asked for a ransom for Foley’s release, as they did for 23 other hostages, according to the New York Times, yet a ransom could never be secured for Foley. Why? European countries pay ransoms to free their citizens regularly, and, in this case, the government could have saved the life of a citizen for around $2 million, which is about the price of the average bomb we drop on a terrorist’s stronghold. So why didn’t we consider this option?

Because the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists.” Remember how we entered into a prisoner exchange with the Taliban, trading Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners? Oh, and our “talks” with the Taliban which were mediated by the obviously-neutral Qatar are problematic too. We can’t let Foley get his ransom, but we can definitely talk to the Taliban face-to-face. There is so much stuff going wrong here.

It’s so boring listening to the media these days: it’s all just about hypocrisy. Gone are all the glorious Malaysia Airlines conspiracy stories courtesy of CNN, and all the Rob Ford stories courtesy of, well, Rob Ford.

Rob Ford is back! And he is better than ever. Well, depends on how you define “better.” The world-famous crack-smoking mayor (probably the second most famous Canadian ever after Justin Bieber) has suffered a sickness which has caused him to drop out of his election for mayor, but has somehow allowed him to run for City Council, and he’s leading the polls by massive margins. In fact, he’s feeling so confident about his political standing he has bestowed his prestigious endorsement upon his brother, Doug Ford, for mayor. This is a man who justifies his drug problem with his drinking problem. And he’s ahead in the polls and handing out endorsements.

But I have a theory why Rob Ford has been so politically successful. In this day and age, an age with compromised values galore — from the NFL to the federal government — people want a politician whom they can empathize with, a politician who cannot appear perfect because his improprieties are on wide display. In essence, a politician who feels real because he is so fake. While these politicians do seem quite questionable initially — one need only to look to Rob Ford for an example — at least they can’t pretend like they are better than they are and then give two-game suspensions. I’m looking at you, Goodell.