Until I caught a glimpse of former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre campaigning for Gov. Rick Scott in a television ad, the only thing I dreaded more than the deluge of sleazy political ads on TV was the commercial for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal in Orlando.
But seeing the stalwart Democrat endorsing the tea party governor was such a shock to my system that I’ll take the bloody walking dead piling up on my television screen and bursting through a locked door ready to devour my tranquility.
I mean to turn away every time I come upon both zombies and politicians, but they get me every time. They’re like the flu — finds you when and where you least expect to catch it and makes you feel all icky.
“You wouldn’t have this problem if you had TiVo,” one of my progeny says when I complain about the seasonal onslaught of undesirable content.
She’s a fan of zombie fun, and one of the Millennials and Florida Hispanics with no plans to vote in this midterm election — which leaves me stunned when she casually tells me. She was once so opinionated that we joked that any argument she couldn’t win, she left so complicated you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
I try to coax her out of her malaise.
Up for reelection, I tell her, is the governor whose $1.3 billion in cuts to education affected her ability to graduate on time. She had to wait an extra semester to take a required course that was canceled because of budget cuts. And worse, after she graduated, because of Scott’s cuts to education and teacher layoffs, there were no job openings in South Florida. It didn’t matter that she worked hard to graduate at the top of her class with a desirable specialty.
“Hashtag #parentalrant,” she retorts, unmoved. I make a mental note to disinherit her.
But, truth be told, this is such a disgusting election that I envy her ability to disconnect.
And unfortunately, we’re far from being the only ones uninspired.
According to pollsters, African American and Hispanic voters in Florida — and across the country in other states with also defining midterm elections — are voicing disappointment with the political process and the failure of both parties to address issues important to them.
In Florida, where Scott and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist are in a virtual tie, the turnout of black and Latino voters is crucial. It would send a terrible message to politicians who already feel we’re expendable if we allowed our disenchantment to turn into disengagement.
Or macabre payback — like Ferre is dishing.
The lifelong Democrat is holding a grudge because the Democratic Party didn’t support his 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate when his poll numbers were in single digits, and so he’s campaigning for an incumbent Republican governor who has stood against virtually everything the Democratic Party stands for — particularly voting rights, women’s rights and a more compassionate treatment of immigrants.
None of these are small issues; if anything, they should motivate people to vote early, and to request and track your ballot online to make sure it’s counted if you vote absentee.
In this campaign, it may be hard to tell the public servants from the zombies, but voting is still the only line of defense.