I choose Gawker

Your Working Girl has fallen gracefully to her dainty knees as she beseechingly asks what in the name of Holy Mary, Mother of God do our elected politicians have in store to punish us with this day.   To get up in the morning this week is to have a case of news-induced vertigo descend as swiftly as the dementor’s curse.

And now, she’s afraid she has lost her patience entirely.

Jon Stewart’s disturbing, brilliant, eight-minute, un-funny piece on Rob Ford’s alleged crack use coupled with the mealy-mouthed excuse for a news conference delivered by the mayor’s brother on Wednesday afternoon has simply drove Your Working Girl to utter distraction.

This must stop, she thought, reaching for her epi-pen of hypocrisy, a sprightly new iPad with matching keyboard.  She went straight to gawker.com to contribute the maximum contribution she could manage on her modest budget.

And now, she is encouraging her Gentle Readers to do the same.

If a videotape showing the mayor smoking the rock with two apparent apparent drug dealers is true, we seem to have a bully of a mayor whose drug of choice is an inner-city scourge. And crack hasn’t really left the poor neighbourhoods from whence it came in the 1980s.  Which is it why it appears the mayor had to go to Kipling and Dixon Road to buy and smoke his fix.   Just up the street, three young men have been murdered this year, quite possibly drug-related.

Yet the mayor mocks the very young people he allegedly turns to for a fix, young people who rightly need a reprieve from the violence that permeates their lives instead of a new customer.

The mayor habitually uses his office as a made-to-order bully pulpit.  After a Toronto shooting in July, 2012 that left two dead and 23 people injured, the mayor spoke derisively about community grant programs that assist youth.

“I don’t believe in those programs,” he said, “I call them hug-a-thug programs.”

The man is, of course, a legend – in his own mind, that is.

“No one helps youth more than I do,” he told Global News after reprimanding the reporter for asking why he voted against funding for anti-gang and community grants,

“I put more of my time and my own money helping these kids more than anyone does.”

He was referring his coaching position for a high school football team, the Don Bosco Eagles, a post he has just been relieved of by Toronto Catholic District School Board.

“He said if it weren’t for him, his players would be dead or on drugs and we thought that was over the top,” Judy Collins, treasurer of the school’s parent council, told a Globe and Mail reporter.

“It was as if he believed the parents had no control or responsibility over their kids at all, that their fates were in the hands of Rob Ford alone.”

Yet, there is a wall of reticence among Canada’s brain trust to potentially expose the truth because the people who were allegedly in the room with Ford and took the video are so-called drug dealers and they are asking for money to release it.  They are saying they want to get out of Dodge and start their lives over.

But in the battle of exposing a morally bankrupt mayoralty versus giving a couple of drug dealers in the projects money, protecting the powerful wins out.  Giving supposed drug dealers money?  Offensive, really.  It would be … well … just wrong.  That’s something Americans do.  And what would those people do with the money?  Buy drugs or something?  Good heavens, it would be the beginning of a slippery slope.

Your Working Girl is ad nauseum at the number of times she heard some version of those sentiments.

Robyn Urback of The National Post, opines that of “the utter offensiveness of publicly rewarding a pair of drug players with a rich reward for having the savvy to hit ‘record’ on their cell phone” should be enough to get people to stop contributing [to gawker.com]. ”

In theiir best-selling book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner write about an extensive four-year study of dealers in the crack boom of the 1990s.

The question?  Why drug dealers live with their moms

The answer?  “If you had a job paying $3.30 an hour, you’d be bunking at home too.”

The popular and respected authors tell us:

“A crack gang works pretty much like the standard capitalist enterprise: You have to be near the top of the pyramid to make a big wage. But selling crack is a lot more dangerous than most menial labor. Anyone who was a member of the gang … stood a 1-in-4 chance of being killed. That’s more than five times as deadly as being a timber cutter, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the most dangerous job in the United States.”

On the bright side, the Toronto debacle makes Your Working Girl think fondly of her dear friend, community organizer, Saul Alinsky, a man who was terribly impatient with people who did not take action on the basis of principle.

“He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of ‘personal salvation’; he doesn’t care enough for people to ‘be corrupted’ for them,” he said in Rules for Radicals published in 1971.

Mr. Alinsky thought that the morality of action had to be weighed against the morality of inaction.  And, for better or worse, Your Working Girl is throwing her lot in with him and choosing action.

And to be perfectly honest, it feels great.  No one’s blood was shed in clicking the Donate Now button.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for the deals that go down in Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods.

You can feel good too.  Visit Gawker’s Crackstarter campaign now.

Epilogue:   Despite the news the Kipling Road videographers have appear to have gone to ground, Your Working Girl still feels great about her contribution to the Crackstarter Campaign.  John Cook of Gawker.com is being transparent and straightforward about the nature of the deal.  Life is not in black and white.  In his Rob Ford Crackstarter Update, John Cook is, at least, defining the gray area. There is honour in that.     

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