The following post is actually a guest-post written by my wife, Alisha. She had intended it to be a comment on my post “Rob Ford, Canadian Senators, and Why We Should Demand Integrity of Our Leaders.” As it happens, I thought it was too well written to be only a comment. She draws a very effective comparison, and I think you will enjoy her contribution to this blog.
It occurred to me that this story (of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford) has some similarities to another drug-use revelation case in recent Canadian history. But the contrasts far outweigh the similarities.
Both Roberts admitted to drug use, and both Robs were in positions that, arguably, ought to hold them to a higher standard of integrity. There, the similarities end.
One Rob voluntarily told of his struggles with mental illness and addiction. The other hid his issues until forced to admit them due to overwhelming evidence.
One Robert offered to refund the admittance price to his performances for anyone who felt that they no longer wished to attend because of his revealed drug use. The other still refuses to step down from his position despite having lied repeatedly to the people who put him in that position.
One Rob has been, and continues, seeking for help and support for his addictions. The other, well, I don’t know one way or the other, so I shall remain silent on that point.
One Robert remains the beloved of a nation. The other has become the shame of a nation.
The good works of one Rob will continue to be his legacy despite his personal struggles. The good works of the other have become completely overshadowed because of his poor methods of dealing with his own struggles.
One Robert has had the overwhelming support of his friends, family, fans, and the media because he has faced illness and addiction with laudable humility, honesty, and integrity. The other, while perhaps supported by some friends and family, faces the censure of most of the public and media.
Mental illness and/or drug addiction could happen to anyone, as is evidenced by the cases of these two Roberts. I, however, will continue to read the many, wonderful stories of Robert Munsch to my children, and will, in time, use his as an example to my children of the dangers of drug addiction, the seriousness of mental illness, and the importance of loving and supporting those who face their issues and seek help.
Robert Munsch is a positive example of handling personal struggles with honour.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of Rob Ford. How I wish he had considered the way Robert Munsch dealt with the intersection of public life and drug addiction before all the lies, cover-ups, and final reluctant and somewhat defiant admissions.