What Brazilian Democracy Needs
The country cannot advance until it has accountable political leadership
Following the Brazilian political scene has been a real test of patience. Often it makes one want to give up and leave, just in pursuit of a minimally healthy atmosphere in which to live. Yes, politics in Brazil is bad for your health. We live in anguish, irritation, and discontent, being persistently treated like clowns. Therefore, I respect anyone who decides to leave and start again, but I also admire those who stoically stay to fight.
If we look at Brazilian politics, we see that the few destroy the lives of the many, condemning our country to backwardness, poverty and thievery. Indeed, they are very few. The problem is that these few are organized and empowered in their usurpation of republican institutions. From time to time, especially in election periods, they argue in public and seem to be on opposite sides. But left and right? Forget it. In Brazil, this does not exist. There is only one side: political power and its trappings.
Lifting the veil of hypocrisy, the situation is as follows: we have policy that does not represent citizens. So-called “representative democracy” is no more than a political-legal formula for popular deception. Some naïve individuals thought that the vote would be a magic wand that would regenerate politics. However, as Emma Goldman’s critical mind has already warned us, if voting were effective it would be illegal.
In Brazil, political and intellectual culture is intentionally kept limited, because ignorance is a populist weapon of massification. Those who have the dedication, patience and effort to acquire a little universal knowledge are labeled elitist or conservative. Unfortunately, we are a country that condemns critical thinking.
Navigating between the illusory optimism of some and the cowardly silence of others, power-holders reached a consensus: since voting is a universal right, it is necessary to dominate party structures and their candidates. Little by little, politicians have become employees of those who truly rule in Brazil. In other words, the political class is nothing more than a set of puppets serving local interests. What about valiant and independent public men? They exist more in the books than in the parliaments.
For a long time, it was easy to maintain the status quo. The traditional tools of manipulation and collective lying were enough. The people were deceived with propaganda, and the wheel of corruption continued to spin. However, with the advent of the internet and social networks, such a strategy of sustaining power has become vulnerable. Today, very quickly, a wave of popular fervor can be mobilized in the streets, immuring the established politics. Hence, we are living a kind of rebirth of direct democracy that shakes the many anachronistic institutions of the Republic.
When the streets boil over, power begins to melt. However, it is not enough to destroy the edifices of corruption and then live among the ruins. Democracy requires effective institutionalization. We have a fraudulent government in the service of illicit interests. And we are already tired. Thus, the highly positive phenomenon of the rediscovery of political power in public spaces must be combined with the emergence of new and reliable leaders who, with decency and courage, can enter the arena of power with the firm intention of making the democratic ideal concrete in the form of responsible, meritocratic and competent governance.
We have entered a highly unstable and volatile historical scene. The static mechanisms of traditional politics no longer have the capacity to respond to the speed of social events. In this open book of possibilities, the quality of the writing will be fundamental and will guide the future for the next generations. Consequently, the pen of power must be in good hands because effective democracy has never been authored by bad politicians.