Amidst memes, work messages, woman’s instructions on how to do the dishes right so your dear wife doesn’t have to wash everything again the next day and unpublishable comments in different groups, a photo of the so-called “new right” arrives via WhatsApp. It is the photo that illustrates this column. I was careful to hide the faces. Not because I don’t want the people portrayed (and, deep down, they don’t even want to be hurt), but to avoid further misunderstandings.
I saw this right crawling, still at the end of the 20th century. He crawled beside her, making more mistakes than right, groping, dipping his feet in cold water or quicksand. Time passed, but not much. Life, heart, and silly dreams took me down different paths, and so I spent nearly two decades watching from a safe distance. I saw the right, once shy and shrunken, gain a voice in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs and turn into Nova Direita© ™ ®, with capital letters and all. I saw the kids with whom she exchanged ridiculous pretentious emails turn into gentlemen, doctors, authors and even experts.
It was good to see all this. But personally, it was also bad. Because there was no room for me in this inner circle . Truth be told, very soon I abdicated the place I might have had in this large estate now taken by the plague of disagreements. And there were not few times when I regretted this departure, because naively (and put naivety in it!) I saw in that group something that I always looked for in friends: loyalty. In my delirium, I liked to idealize those people, to see them united by a greater ideal, by a nobler objective than vanity or money or power that historically moved men. If I say I admired them, I’m not exaggerating.
It was like this, from afar and feeding fantasies, that I saw this “new” right lose the adjective and the hair, and gain space and relevance . With the fall of Dilma Rousseff, some even came to power. In that kind of Purgatory that preceded the election of Jair Bolsonaro, the new right could dream of a conservative tropical paradise in which they (because I was on the sidelines) would triumph over progressivism.
But then the charm of the group feeling, of the virtuous union, was broken. The reasons, I can only speculate. They range from the aversion to collectivism typical of those who focus on conservative authors, through vanity (no wonder the devil’s favorite sin), through the unfathomable pettiness of human beings, through stupidities that are written on sour days, through the feeling of moral superiority that is the hallmark of our time, and finally arrive at the incompatibility of values. It happens in the best families.
Jair Bolsonaro, the Covid pandemic-19 and especially Olavo de Carvalho served as a pretext for the fights of 10, 20 years ago, until then a reason for regretful hugs, I would get you drunk and a lot of self-mockery, come back with force. Hatred was born – or resurrected. Resentments were, well, resentful. Sorrows rose in her throat, that unmistakable taste of gall. And the result is what we have today: the new right aged quickly and, transformed into the cartoonish image of the grumpy old man, its members went around burning the fragile bridges they had built between themselves and between them and the public. Who yesterday called himself “my dear” over there, “my dear” over here, now exchanged insults and insults based on crude puns.
Not coincidentally, while the right was each one to its side in search of the proverbial mush first, the left has united more than ever. I would say even more than under the Military Regime. Trotskyists and Stalinists joined hands. Marxists and Foucauldians left minor differences there. Even PT members and toucans, once irreconcilable enemies, found a Machiavellian way to reconcile. Unable to agree on the spoils of a hard-won battle (and perhaps a little dazzled by the spotlight), the new right dispersed and, in the process, dwarfed itself to such an extent that it now risks being crushed. for this zombie left that terrifies us with its dangerously retrograde ideas.
What is the chance of this photo being repeated nowadays? That we have side by side, speaking the same language and fighting for a greater goal, men and women who pouted, blocked each other on Twitter and left stomping hard, swearing eternal enmity? Virtually none. It would take a great effort at forgiveness, an almost holy ability to overcome differences and a miracle that would make them (us?) forget all the offenses, all the perversities accumulated in recent years. In other words.
Recently, a former member of this new right, who happens to be absent in the photo, but also missing the enthusiastic hope that bathed that union recorded by a Cartier-Bresson without much talent, made a frightening prognosis of our (I’ll include myself, be damned!) possibilities. “It used to be said that the left was only united in jail. Apparently, the right (and the center, which doesn’t know what to do with its hands) will only unite on the paredón”, he said. We raise our glasses in the air. We laugh. But it was a sad laugh. And worried.