I discovered a new word today: or a new variation on an old word. I was on the Sun News website earlier (I don’t go their often because of the eerie similarity to Fox News in the States), but once in a while I drop by. In this case I was interested in their report on our Mayor’s mother going to bat for him regarding his activity regarding his “personal” activity while Mayor of Toronto. I wanted to read the most positive account I could find: thus Sun News. I could only shake my head at the perspective of Madam Ford (I watched the interview on CP 24 as well): at her continual denial about her son and her obvious desire to maintain her empire.
But this post is not about that. At this point all I can say is: I don’t know how she made her money (Born in to it? Or married in?), but it obviously wasn’t counselling or legal defence (or addiction prevention or child rearing).
Rather, this post is about a word. On the Sun website (Sun News, 2013), in one of the side columns, there was a poll that asked: “Do you think the Ford family are enablers?” And I had to wonder exactly what they meant by the question. Entitled? Yes, I’ve thought that before about the Fords, but I’ve never encountered “enabler” in anything like what I would associate Rob Ford. If anything, I would call him a dis-enabler (or whatever the opposite would be); rather than helping to “enable” those who might otherwise not be able to do something, he (and his family) seem much more geared toward focusing power amongst those who are already “enabled”. His efforts, as mayor, to decimate Toronto’s libraries and parks and social services server only to “enable” those who already have concentrated their power.
So I looked it up: and discovered the truth. (Sigh: though “truth” when it comes to the Fords is more flexible than for the rest of us…) I didn’t even try dictionary.com at first; I expected that the definition I needed was a bit more colloquial. From the Urban Dictionary:
1. Tacit Enabler – Supports another’s bad habits by staying silent.
2. Overt Enabler – Supports another’s bad habits by providing assistance such as money, transportation, approval, etc…
Enablers tend to fear calling others on their destructive habits… rather than risk losing the love, respect, friendship or contact with the person, the enabler chooses instead to play it safe.
The one added complexity: Madam Ford does not “fear” calling out her son because she might lose his “love, respect” or whatever they have between them. She fears calling him out because she might lose his power.
As you can see, at right, I’m not the only one who thinks so. And this is from Sun News, a media source whose readership would be most sympathetic to the family.
I will admit that I have limited knowledge of the Fords: though of course that is mostly because they try to keep their secrets hidden behind their private family walls. (All the family but Rob, apparently.) But that does not mean I have insufficient knowledge. It is obvious to the rest of us that there is a problem within those walls: and the more they try to hide behind that bastion of “privacy”, the more this will get worse: and it needs to get worse. We’ve given them every opportunity to come forward, to get help and to step down. They have not used that opportunity. I know it’s hard, Madam Ford; but Rob has brought it on himself.