For the right people

August 24, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Anthony Carnovale

As a rule, I try not to hate too many people. Now, I know that ‘hate’ is a strong word, but sometimes, it’s the only word that’ll do. There have been people in my life (and I’m sure in yours) who have ground away at me as if I were a piece of cheese, and everything they said or did sent me on a round trip along the spine of a cheese grader. I used to work with someone that would always (and I mean always) enter a room while shouting out the same damn Macbeth quote: “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!” It was as if he didn’t know any other part of the play (I suspect he didn’t). It went on for years and years. There have been others. There are far too many to mention in this space.

After a while, a pattern emerged. The people I hated were people who pretended to be something or someone that they weren’t. I learned that what I valued most in people was authenticity. If you weren’t that, well. And it started to frustrate me, stress me out, wind me up, and grind at me.

Until one day, after a conversation I had with our school chaplain. We talked about authentic teaching, authentic living, and the consequences of not embodying either. She agreed with most of what I said but took exception to my using the word ‘hate.’ She said, ‘Anthony, hating someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’ And that was it. That’s all it took. It was one of those transformative moments, you know. It just clicked. Hating someone was hurting me more than the person I hated. Those trips up and down the cheese grader were self-inflicted. My ticket. My ride. In the end, my choice.

Since that time, others have tempted me. People In my life. On TV. In the news. Trump. De Santis. Poilievre. Trudeau. Kanye. Neighbours. The student who stole my phone. Richard III. Instead of hating them, I tried to understand what motivated them (I have a theory). Instead of hating someone, I’m trying to understand them (except for the dude who built the Alder pool).

But all of that came crashing down this past week. I turned on the TV, and there was Doug Ford in a press conference, responding to the Auditor General’s ‘Report on Changes to the Greenbelt.’ The report detailed an operation that was entirely politicized by the Ford government, bypassing rules and benefitting those with connections to Doug Ford and the Conservative Party. The report concluded that the personal wealth of a few developers, thanks to rezoning, had grown by 8.5 billion dollars. Cheese meets grater.

Even more upsetting was his response. Doug Ford, with his puppet Steve Clark by his side, stood with that hard, steely stare of his as reporters asked questions. Ford’s been around the block (he is a former drug dealer, after all), and he doesn’t like to be held to account (he’s threatened to prorogue parliament a few times). Watching him being held to account, you get the sense that his brain is thinking one thing, his lips are saying something else. He has an obvious disdain for process and accountability and, despite what he says, the people of Ontario.

It brought me back to his treatment of healthcare workers (people) during the pandemic, his cuts to education — most of which was done with zero consultation outside of his own government (students = people); when he changed the funding model, with zero consultation, for autism support. The waiting list has since ballooned to 61,000 people. (Last time I checked, kids with autism were real-life people). What about his establishing the ‘strong mayors’ system that allows for one council member (a mayor) to veto a council’s motion? For the people. The Doug Ford way.

He’s playing games with people’s lives because he and his cronies can afford to play. The rich never lose, man. It reminded me of the time Doug Ford handed out $20 bills to residents of Regent Park while mulling a run for provincial office. It wasn’t illegal, but it was juvenile. Sadly, soon after, a former Orangeville mayor was paying people $20 to take a selfie with him at the Orangeville Fair. Juvenile. Cheap. Like Kraft Cheese slices.

Look, I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like Ford. Ford was booed at the Special Olympics in 2019. He was booed at the Raptors championship parade and was left hanging by Musai Ujiri. Like most bullies, Doug Ford is looking for validation; this is what motivates him. If he wants love, he should try sincerity. He gives the impression that he’d rather not be a politician. But he is. And he needs to be held to account. His response to the Auditor General’s Report was lame. The Globe and Mail called Ford’s attempt at damage control “positively avant-garde in it’s contempt for voters intelligence.”

Look, I also know a lot of people like Doug Ford; I don’t hate them. After all, they’re looking for the same things he is. He’s just doing it in a custom-made suit.

For the people.

I don’t want to hate Doug Ford, but he’s making it really difficult. While the Orangeville Food Bank struggled to meet demand, Ford made his pals wealthier to the tune of $8 billion. He has to pay for his transgressions.  

Writer Anne Lamott summed it up best when talking about character: The evidence is in you, and you are the verdict. Doug Ford is guilty. Doug Ford needs to resign.

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