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Wineke: Toronto mayor justifies crack use because he’s drunk?

By William R. Wineke, Special to Channel 3000
Published On: Nov 07 2013 01:35:05 PM CST
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Mark Blinch/Reuters

You’ve got to hand it to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: There aren’t a whole lot of politicians who would justify using crack because “I was in a drunken stupor."

But that’s what Ford, mayor of the fourth-largest city in North America, said when confronted with evidence that he was videotaped using the illegal drug. The videotape also, according to those who have seen it, also pretty much confirms Ford was, indeed, in a drunken stupor.

Not to worry, though. The mayor has apologized and assured the citizens of Toronto that “these mistakes will "never, ever, happen again."


Well, you’ve probably heard all this. It was major fodder for the cable news networks for days. But, in all the coverage, only comedian Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, actually put the matter in its proper perspective.

"This is not going to end well," Stewart said, adding, not too gently, that if Ford doesn’t get help soon, he will die.

Yes, he will.

Ford is 44 years old, suffers from asthma, is grossly overweight and just goes from one alcohol-related crisis to another.

He says he’s not an addict. Just made some mistakes.

But how many other people do you know who would justify crack cocaine use by explaining they were in drunken stupors?

None. That’s how many.

The news media keep covering this as if it were a political story: Will Rob Ford resign his job (apparently, there’s no way for the Toronto city council to force him to resign) or not?

What the story really is is an ongoing tragedy unfolding in public. It’s not all that different of Madison native comedian Chris Farley or, before him, John Belushi.

Ford is obviously in terrible physical condition. He will either get help or he will die.

Even getting "help" doesn’t guarantee anything. Addiction is a baffling disease. Many addicts go through multiple treatments before finding lasting sobriety.

But not getting help pretty much guarantees that things will not "end well."

What I don’t understand is why it takes a comedian hosting a fake news show to point that out.

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