Where has “honor in public service” gone?

I started my working career as an aide to politicians. I was proud to be involved in politics and government because I believed that I could make a positive difference.

It’s been a week like few others north of the border in Canada. Thanks to Rob Ford, we’ve garnered an unwelcome share of both national and international media attention. And that’s produced some remarkable moments. And all of them have been passed along through social media.

1. Vulgar Rob Ford

The raw video. Really raw video. You won’t believe the language he uses.

2. CBC’s National coverage of the day

Leading the nightly newscast.

3. CTV’s national news overview of the bizarre day

Canada’s other national news network, CTV, does not provide code to embed its videos, but here is the link to their coverage.


What Happened to honor in public service?

As I watch the events in these videos unfold, I’m left with one question: What happened to honor in public life?

  • I don’t think it’s time to throw in the towel on honour writ large, Joe. My wife also worked in politics and we’re both still on the fringes of that world. Plenty of honourable people left in that world, as I’m sure you know.

    Just as the people behind http://wearetoronto.tumblr.com/ and similar projects are fighting to remind people there’s more to TO than Rob Ford, maybe those with a vested interest in the nobility of public service should be fighting to change the focus a bit.

    • A good thought Joe. I once worked for a politician who had resigned after a personal mistake. He announced it before it became public. And although it tore him up inside, he resigned immediately. Yes, he made a mistake. But he was at base an honourable man. And people saw that politics was full of humans who could and would make mistakes, but who also understood that the public trust required a higher standard.

      Sadly, Mayor Ford’s rationale that “I love this job more than anything.” put his own ego ahead of the public good. There’s no honour in that. 🙁