Red tide and voting

We’ve been having an especially bad red tide the last week here in Florida, which means all the fish are dead and going outside makes you cough. What sort of Blade Runner-esque future world is this anyway?

Florida has been having especially toxic algae blooms like this in the last few years thanks to ever-increasing levels of pollution, pollution given the green light by governor Rick Scott. Scott, who also happens to be a huge a-hole, has spent the last eight years systematically dismantling the state’s environmental and water quality controls, allowing big ag ever more runoff, and not taking polluters to task. Now Florida’s beaches are closed down and, oh yeah, all the fish and a lot of the turtles and manatees are dead. And now this guy, (did I mention he’s also a huge a-hole? Here’s John Oliver demonstrating just how flaming of a one), is running for senate, against incumbent and environmental champion Bill Nelson. One can only hope that articles such as “Gov. Rick Scott’s algae bloom has ruined Florida beaches” (Miami Herald), or “Florida’s great green algae disaster–we asked for it… us and Rick Scott” (Orlando Sentinel) will inspire a few people to vote with the priority of having their beaches back rather than their party. Maybe this latest horrific algae bloom has come at just the right time.

Actually our ballot is full of candidates running on pro-enivornment platforms and looking to expand Medicaid under the ACA, which Florida never did (thanks again Rick Scott, you a-hole) and desperately needs to do. The democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, even has combating climate change in the core of his platform. This in contrast to Rick Scott ordering his staff and various government departments to not use the words “climate change” at all: sound policy when you’re governor of a state that rests pretty much at or below sea level.

Also running for congress in this district is Sanjay Patel who’s refused to take corporate PAC money in his campaign and who has “protecting our air, our water, our land, and our wildlife” front and center in his campaign platform. On his mailer he has the quote “The power of the people is stronger than the people in power”. Someone to actually feel good about voting for, in my opinion.

And, my personal favorite, there’s Nicole Haagenson running for state senate in my district: it’s not often you get to vote for a queer, air force veteran, mother-of-five who used to coach your roller derby team! I’m pretty happy to be able to vote for someone not only looking to protect our beaches and waterways, and expand Medicaid, but who I know personally to be a total badass.

So maybe one bright side of the current state of national affairs is, instead of the usual parade of Tweedle Dees and Tweedle Dums, having some genuinely exciting candidates for which to vote. And maybe one bright side of this horrific toxic fish genocide is going to be people voting for candidates who want to make it possible for everyone to go to the beach again sometime this year. Here’s hoping you have as much fun voting in the midterms as I did, and there are less dead fish and more breathable air where you are.


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