How Would You Feel if Your Mayor Smoked Crack?
Photo via Flickr user marc falardeau
As you’ve probably heard by now, Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto and the hearts of young people everywhere, smokes crack, or at least there is a video that multiple reporters have seen of a guy who looks an awful like Rob Ford smoking something out of the pipe. Although mayors have been caught sucking the glass dick before (most notably Marion Barry in 1990), it is still big news, because, wow, it seems like if you were running a major city you shouldn’t be hanging out with shady dudes and having a puff of the old crack.
Rob Ford is somewhat of an erratic dude for someone with so much power—he’s sort of a cross between Homer Simpson and a Canadian version of Caligula—so the notion that he enjoys hard drugs recreationally isn’t the craziest idea. But what would it be like if a more respected authority figure, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was found in similar cracked-out circumstances? We wandered around Brooklyn asking people to find out what their reactions would be.
VICE: How would you react if Mayor Bloomberg got caught smoking crack?
Kristina, attorney: I would be surprised. He seems to be a very conservative kind of guy. He keeps to himself, he’s very private. If he got caught doing it in public, that would be a huge problem for the city of New York. I think our politicians need to be role models for the people of the city.
Can a crack user be a good role model?
I think a crack user who’s in recovery and has done something positive with his life and has chosen to take a different path can certainly be a role model for other people. But if they’re going through those problems and issues, that’s what they should be focusing on, not leading a group of people.
How would crack affect the choices a leader—like a mayor—makes?
It affects the mental and psychological well-being of a person, and that’s fact. Whether or not people choose to use it is their business. But if you’re going to use something that alters your physical and mental stability, then certainly it would not be in your best interests to be leading a city.
How would you feel if Mayor Bloomberg were caught smoking crack?
Carlos, ironworker: So-so.
Sometimes I like him, but sometimes... y’know...
Do you think it’s OK for politicians to do drugs?
Yeah. I like doing them sometimes. I like a couple of them.
How would you feel if Bloomberg were caught smoking crack?
Anna, dancer: I’d go “hmm, mmm.” I’d probably need more information before I got really mad or anything.
You wouldn’t be surprised? Offended?
I guess I’d be surprised. I don’t think I’d be offended, though.
Is there any personal choice that a mayor could make that would offend you?
If he said mean things about gay rights, or do anything violent.
Do you think we should care if mayors are totally strung out?
I think that’s kind of a personal thing. I think it depends if it affects his job or other people.
Javier and Diana, architects from Madrid.
Who’s the mayor of Madrid?
Javier: Ana Botella
How would you feel if Ana Botella was caught smoking crack?
Diana: I don’t think she would do it. She’s very right-wing religious.
Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is also a right-winger and he was caught smoking crack.
Javier: Crack just makes it too hard for a mayor to perform his work competently.
What if the mayor were doing other drugs that didn’t get in the way of his job?
Javier: I wouldn’t care about that.
Diana: It depends if he does it in his free time or while he’s working.
Is there any job people can do while high on crack?
Javier: Well, not crack, but I know a lot of architects who smoke a lot of stuff.
How would you feel if you found out that your mayor was smoking crack?
Gertrude, journalist and radio host from Copenhagen: I would think that that’s just way too much.
Do you think smoking crack makes you a bad person?
No, not necessarily, but I think it means you make risky decisions. It’s a risky thing to do and I wouldn’t trust the ability of that person to make wise decisions on behalf of the entire community.
What do you think a mayor on crack would do differently from a clean mayor?
If you severely abuse any kind of substance, you just start making bad decisions. That’s not just for mayors, that goes for doctors and educators. They start making risky decisions because the more hooked you get on this drug, the more you’re going to take risks to keep your secret and get your drugs.
How would you feel about mayors and other professionals doing a little bit of crack, as long as they’re not abusing it?
I’m pretty liberal in terms of smoking joints and stuff like that, but crack is just the next level. You can have a spliff from time to time and still be a reasonable person and enjoy social events--it’s not my thing, but if other people like it, that’s fine. But crack is just the next level.
Who’s the mayor of Copenhagen?
He’s named Frank Jensen. And I don’t think he smokes crack.
How would you feel if Bloomberg were caught smoking crack?
Stephen, bookseller: I wouldn’t feel too good about the state of things.
Do you think it’s OK for mayors and other people in politics to do drugs?
I don’t think they should smoke crack.
But you’d be OK with them doing other drugs?
What other drugs?
Pot or acid, say.
I don’t know about doing acid. Smoking pot I wouldn’t have a problem with. I don’t really need to know if someone’s smoking pot. If they’re smoking crack, I want to be aware that they’re smoking crack.
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