Can anyone out there seriously say that they are surprised by Robert Ford's abuse of the hardworking 911 operators? After all, we knew what kind of man Mr. Ford was before he was elected to be Mayor of Toronto. Ford is a self-absorbed, bully of a man who seeks for recognition by attempting to make people afraid of him, by belittling others in order to compensate for his own shortcomings as a man and a human-being. People who lack compassion and genuine human feeling find it difficult to comprehend why people do not conform to their wants and desires, somewhere deep inside them they are frustrated by their own lack of human connection and the only way that their truncated souls can react to their frustration is to lash out in an, often futile, attempt to force others to conform to their will. Lacking a basic level of humanity, these sad individuals are vaguely aware of their shortcomings and the only way that they can deal with it is by attempting to lower others through violence (verbal and physical), thus attempting to trick their psyche into believing that they are superior to those around them. This is central to Mr. Ford's behaviour at all times, as it is with so many rightwing politicians. This is why the natural consequence of a certain brand of rightwing politics is fascism. Stephen Harper is a similar man to Robert Ford, though with a considerably greater degree of self-control. Such men (and occasionally women) are not connected to other human beings at a basic emotional level and therefore the only thing that they can understand is control. And, of course, lacking empathy, such people are very seldom able to form meaningful alliances or create significant loyalty from others. If your modus operandi is power and abusive control, people only care about you to the degree that you can wield power or use your power to assist them in some way. In other words, to borrow from Kant, if you treat people as a means to an end, they will treat you the same way. This is why such autocratic leaders so often fall suddenly and inauspiciously - because once power is gone they have nothing, and no one to depend upon.
In Ottawa we had a mayor with a similar style to Mr. Ford, though not quite as bad or obtuse. Mayor O'Brian went down to ignominious defeat because he didn't how to deal with people at a basic human level. He was able to use his self-centred, abusive style to gain success in the business world so he assumed that it would translate directly into the job of mayor. Mr. Ford had a certain degree of success as a councilman because in this position he didn't depend on the goodwill of his coworkers - he could be the squeaky door of the council, gaining attention and bemusement as he went. But when you put such a man in a position of significant power, it is a disaster waiting to happen. I wouldn't be surprised if Ford fails to complete his time in office because at some point his abusive ego will carry him too far. Mr. Harper will go the same way at some point and history will judge him very badly. When I was young I said it about Nixon, in the 80s I said it about Thatcher and Mulroney, and I say the same about Ford and Harper. Unfortunately this abusive, philistine, angry personality sometimes carries people to power and maintains them there for a while. But it almost always ends badly. And it is not just an issue of right and left wing. Take John Tory in Ontario for example. I disagree with most, if not all, of Mr. Tory's ideological beliefs. But he treats people with a significant degree of respect, listens to the arguments of others, and doesn't depend upon abusive power-mongering to stake out his beliefs in the public realm. Of course, just as abuse can lead people to power, respectable behaviour can prevent you from gaining power. However, while John Tory still has the respect of his allies and his opponents, Mr. Ford is quickly losing the respect of everyone.