Rob Ford, meet Kelvin Doe.
Kelvin's family does not own a label and tag company grossing sales of $100 million dollars a year.
Kelvin, 16, is from Sierra Leone, a nation which was ravaged by the slave trade, corrupt government officials, colonialism, ACTUAL coup d'états involving armed forces (and not council members), civil war, extreme poverty and hunger. You might have guessed that, yes, they do not have more than enough to eat at home.
Kelvin, I am sure, had daily motivation to become demotivated, and turn to drugs, other substances and other things people apparently do while in a drunken stupor.
But you know what? Kelvin actually defied his trajectory. You see, Kelvin also is fighting for the little guy.
Kelvin, who has recently been the recipient of well-deserved international attention, goes around collecting things people have thrown out (mostly electronics). He then takes these things apart and rebuilds them with other salvaged parts into useful things, like generators, batteries and radios. I forgot to mention, he is self-taught.
Why does he do this you ask? Well this little smug know-it-all wants to better those around him and his community.
He also has a radio show, but instead of relentless entering into a paranoia with respect to the Toronto Star that would make Henry Hill's fascination with helicopters in Goodfellas seem like a harmless hobby, Kelvin's radio show is actually used for, get this, engaging youth in his area to debate important issues which affect him. Did I mention this all takes place on the radio equipment he built himself?
Now, there's stopping the gravy train, and then there's Kelvin Doe driving behind it on his bicycle offering people free rides (that's right Rob, I bet Kelvin and his community welcome the use of bicycles as an economically effective means of travel).
But Kelvin is the reason why, after getting my almost daily dose of Rob Ford buffoonery, I maintain my faith in humanity.
One moment, I see a fully grown adult male, and his apparent live-in caregiver Doug Ford (seriously, why can't these two, or at least Rob, appear separately in interviews?) on a war path. Not a path through Pam McConnell, but a path of "awww shucks" moments that are playing out more like a video log from Charlie Sheen than reality. Our US neighbours, whose politicians are usually the source of my entertainment, are actually asking us, for once, "seriously, is this how politicians are up there?"
On a side note, last week, I was watching Jeopardy and noted that not a single contestant was able to identify our prime minister by https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/19/jeopardy-stephen-harper-video-canada_n_4302339.html" target="_hplink">his picture! His PICTURE! All of a sudden, the usually highly-respected quiz show took an intellectual break and momentarily offered up a Guess Who freebie. Not one single contestant could identify the man as Prime Minister Harper (judges would have apparently also accepted "Mr. Sweater Vest" or "that guy who sometimes plays the piano at public events and people are forced to sit through it and tell him John Lennon never sounded so good in monotone"). But, I guarantee, at least 2 out of the 3 contestants would have been able to identify Rob Ford by his picture (well, maybe one might have guessed Brian Dennehy - who is my vote to play Rob Ford whenever his biopic is released and the studio finishes negotiating with Dixon Road residents for certain media rights).
And that is sad. The elected representative of this country is not identifiable by photograph, but half of the US has seen at least one GIF or meme of Rob Ford in order to correctly identify him.
However, as I said, Kelvin is my reassurance that all is not completely lost in the world. Despite the mayor of Canada's largest city admitting to smoking crack cocaine, refusing to seek treatment, explaining his usage of one substance by his over-use of another substance, and then getting his own 1-hour mass on Sun News Network (with his chaperone Doug Ford) to keep beating his chest and claiming Toronto as still his...there is a glimmer of hope.
The world, and governments, needs more Kelvins. More problem solvers. More have-nots that do more with less. More people who do good without the promise of financial return. And hopefully some of those people find their way into politics, because somewhere along the way politics has become the place where ideas go to die and be endlessly debated until the things actually being enacted into law are already outdated.
Rob, meet Kelvin. He can be a tremendous role-model for you (and for all other politicians who have lost their way). Kelvin reminds us just how amazing human potential is, even coming out of a thoroughly corrupted environment.
If this kid can turn garbage into useful things, maybe Toronto should re-direct their tax dollars to him. Imagine the possibilities (without the international embarrassment). Kelvin is not paid a salary by his community, but maybe we should start demanding more out of our own (paid) community representatives.
Or better yet, maybe Kelvin should just become Toronto's new mayor, because a city could not possibly have a problem with a 16-year old running their city, if they don't have a problem with an ex-crack user (as long as they "get things done").