Sunday, June 16, 2013
Cat runs for mayor
Does he look combative enough?
The aggro is necessary.
He's running for mayor...
A mayoral hopeful in Mexico promises to eat, sleep most of the day and donate his leftover litter to fill potholes.
Morris, a black-and-white kitten with orange eyes, is running for mayor of Xalapa in eastern Mexico with the campaign slogan "Tired of Voting for Rats? Vote for a Cat." And he is attracting tens of thousands of politician-weary, two-legged supporters on social media.
"He sleeps almost all day and does nothing, and that fits the profile of a politician," said 35-year-old office worker Sergio Camacho, who adopted the 10-month-old feline last year.
Put forth as candidate by Camacho and a group of friends after they became disillusioned with the empty promises of politicians, Morris' candidacy has resonated across Mexico, where citizens frustrated with human candidates are nominating their pets and farm animals to run in July 7 elections being held in 14 states.
Also running for mayor are "Chon the Donkey" in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, "Tina the Chicken" in Tepic, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, "Maya the Cat" in the city of Puebla and "Tintan the Dog" in Oaxaca City, though their campaigns are not as well organised as that of Morris.
Politicians repeatedly rank at the bottom of polls about citizens' trust in institutions.
Morris' cuteness, the clever campaign and promises to donate money collected from the sales of campaign stickers and T-shirts to an animal shelter has attracted cat lovers, but Camacho said most of his supporters were citizens tired of corrupt politicians and fraudulent elections.
"Morris has been a catalyst to show the discontent that exists in our society," Camacho said.
"Our message from the beginning has been 'if none of the candidates represent you, vote for the cat' and it seems people are responding to that."
Xalapa, a university city of 450,000 people, is the capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where residents have in last two years been beleaguered by drug violence, corruption scandals and the killings of at least nine reporters and photojournalists.
Morris has a website, a Twitter account and a Facebook page with more than 115,000 "likes", that makes him more popular in social networks than the five human mayoral contenders.
His website has a collection of memes that picture Morris yawning while describing his "ample legislative experience," an image that mirrors photographs of lawmakers sleeping during congressional sessions.
Morris' campaign managers are asking supporters to write-in "Morris" or draw a cat's face on the ballot to send a message to authorities, who are not taking the cat's growing popularity lightly.