There’s something rotten in our city, and it stinks.
I’m sure we have all encountered what I am talking about, but it never hit me quite so hard as the morning of the 23rd, after our civic elections. Water cooler talk was excitement about the election, and everybody had an opinion on how great the election outcome was. Which makes sense, considering the large victory experienced by Mr. Bowman.
Then things got bent. People started deriding Judy Wasylycia-Leis for her emotional response to losing the election. For mispronouncing the name of Cpl. Cirillo. For having a funny body shape and a funny voice. For having a strange tic. For basically being a human being. And it stank.
I had to walk away, because I was about to get myself into professional difficulties, as my mouth often runs off before my brain even knows what is happening. The worst part of this was that as I was moving off to be by myself, I knew if Bowman was the one with a funny little voice, if Bowman was the one carrying a few extra pounds around the middle, or if Bowman had a strange tic, no one would have said a thing. Bowman is a man, and so he is allowed to have a few foibles and not be sent through the ringer for it.
I know what many readers are thinking – that this is blatantly false, and that the struggle for equality has been fought and won. Which is hooey. Women earn less and hold fewer positions of power. Women regularly must struggle to be considered beyond their physical appearance in order to be taken seriously. Women are constantly inundated with images that describe for them impossible ideals. Men simply do not have to deal with such balogna.
Perhaps Judy was not the ideal choice for Winnipeg’s mayor. Perhaps Bowman was the better choice. Regardless of this fact, she does not deserve to be ridiculed for being a human being. She has spent a lifetime in service to the public, trying to make our little corner of the universe a better place, and for that she should be thanked. She shouldn’t have to deal with simpletons snickering at her because she does not have a model’s body, or because she fumbled a name in a time of extreme emotion.
Today, Winnipeg, you stink.