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“Do you want to shut me up?”: Prof. Lourdes Melo and the shortcomings of democracy

Calm. I’ll be back to talk about the case of Professor Lourdes Melo (PCO), the candidate for the government of Piauí who made me laugh first and then think about the deficiencies and perversities of democracy (sir Alexandre de Moraes, please forgive me for speaking such heresy!). First, however, I want and will catch your attention with a catchphrase that is a paraphrase of Chesterton. Here it is: “whoever ignores the problems of democracy deserves the solutions of the dictatorship”.

The original sentence spoke of the problems of capitalism and the “solutions” of socialism. It is convenient to ask the reader for a little parsimony with the verb “to deserve”. Neither Chesterton nor I wish ill on anyone. “To deserve”, both in the sentence and in the paraphrase, has an educational, affectionate and slightly comic tone. It’s like a mother who says that those who don’t brush their teeth deserve to face the torture of the dentist.

About teacher Lourdes Melo, she is an old acquaintance of the people of Piauí. Since 2006 she has been a candidate either for the state government or for the mayor of Teresina. The results, you can imagine, are mediocre. In the last election, for example, the nice grumpy old lady amassed mere 156 votes. Which, for some reason that is not even worth researching, were canceled.

This time Lourdes Melo draws the attention of social networks for her way between the simpleton and the stallholder. During a debate between the candidates for the government of Piauí, she called a contestant a “Bolsonarist Barbie” and started to confront the poor mediator. “Do you want to shut me up?!” she asked when interrupted. “Oh, you want to protect me?!” she insisted aggressively after listening to the mediator’s sensible explanations. Miss Lourdes really wasn’t having a good day. Or she was on her Aracy de Almeida day.

Democracy is not perfect

At first, the style is comically authoritarian style of Lourdes Melo makes for a good laugh. Not great or great laughs, but good ones. Afterwards, however, the heart that whispers wisdom to reason prevails. There is something very wrong, very perverse with a democracy that allows little ladies like Lourdes Melo to believe that they are capable of changing the world. Or, at the very least, Piauí.

And yet, this illusion is at the base of democratic regimes, in which anyone, including the ex-teacher and ex-trade unionist from Piauí, but also an ex-convict an ex-clown, can try to get elected and, thus, change the portion of the world under the jurisdiction of his position. Running after that carrot, many people dedicate their lives to achieving the power of the magic pen. As if changing the living conditions in a place like Piauí were a matter of political will – a buzzword that has disappeared from public debate, but which explains much of our misfortune.

This is just one of the shortcomings of democracy – the very one that the authorities “democratically” do not allow us to question. I mean, you and I can even question, as long as we use innocuous arguments and sweet words. Not forgetting the treatment pronouns that end in “issimo”. Representativeness, the egalitarian value of voting in a society with such different interests and the threat of a kakistocracy are other deficiencies that suddenly occur to me.

When these and other deficiencies are pointed out by someone with less sense than me, then authorities and experts appear to say no, you see, democracy is the worst form of government, with the exception of all the others, etc. and such. And I tend to agree. Hard to swallow is the arrogance of those who say that democracy is perfect. Just because – surprise! – this democracy that is there serves the interests of a certain caste that does not see any problem in exchanging two or three principles for a little privilege.

The fact is that, after several political reforms and more and less subtle changes in the structure of the State, what democracy bequeathed to us was this Brazil that we have today and with which only one caste is satisfied. So satisfied that it beats in the chest to say: democracy is mine and nobody eats! As I wrote above, in a rare and modest moment of semi-genius and paraphrasing the big fat GK Chesterton, “who ignores the problems of democracy deserves the solutions of dictatorship”. Or the solutions of any other authoritarian (or at least non-democratic) regime that, even if not, claims to be able to protect society from the leadership of the unprepared and malicious.

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