First, modernity demanded that the illiterate peasant learn to read and write in order to judge, on his own, the things of faith. Then people of this mentality went to a new continent and created a country where each man should decide the course of the nation. In the medieval model of Western Europe, a fixed court decided the course of the kingdom, while city councils lived a kind of democracy that took care of immediate matters. In the USA, instead of the figure of the king, the interpreter of the Constitution was erected. There, major advances or setbacks are attributed to variations in the interpretation given by a Supreme Court justice. Subsequently, non-elected intelligence agencies emerged that watch over state interests in a secret way. Meanwhile, Brazil leaves the Amazon at the mercy of elections and decisions by a Judiciary that is not always very concerned with national sovereignty.
Having become an economic power, the US exported its vices and virtues to the world. Thus, Brazil became a democracy on three occasions: at the end of the 20th century, at the end of World War II and at the end of the Cold War. The federalist democracy of Café com Leite began a little before the Spanish-American War, when the US consolidated itself as a power by beating the Spanish navy, and went from strength to strength as the US won World War I. As for the other wars – World War II and the Cold War – the USA emerged victorious. Our political model mimics that of the US when victorious. Democracy itself as a Western political system par excellence dates back to the end of World War I. About 100 years later, attempts to impose the democratic model would extend to the Middle East.
The traditional vote in authority
A useful cultural cut to deal with a good part of Brazil is the Middle Ages
versus Modernity. The Northeast, Southeast and South have important European cultural influence, but Europe’s time is quite different. In the Northeast celebrated by Ariano Suassuna, we still have celebrations for the victory of Charlemagne over the Moors. These medieval “Europeans” are very dark, but nothing more medieval than mixing with pagans and Christianizing them through syncretism. The Northeast is also the most Catholic region, and has an agrarian population much closer to a medieval villager than a high tech farmer in the Midwest. . The Northeast is isolated, so its medieval features are more visible.
Modern European immigration was especially important from São Paulo downwards. Even so, in Rio Grande do Sul, the south of the state has an old population. Like the Northeast, the South of Rio Grande do Sul dyed the electoral map red.
To demand that each individual form a judgment about the destiny of the nation is, in my view, stupid. I don’t think it’s sensible to demand that an illiterate peasant, or an ordinary housewife, find out about the problem of Russian fertilizers or the environmental regulation of indigenous lands. I don’t think it’s sensible to demand that the metropolis gari be worried about MST invasions. To make matters worse, I don’t put much faith in the common sense of a person who thinks he is capable of pontificating on all scientific, moral and national issues at the same time. Only those who meet this demand – badly and filthy – are the boring people who spend the day on Twitter saying that Science tells them not to vote for Bolsonaro because he is homophobic and will end the planet.
How do you vote for this medieval mentality? Vote as directed by authority. It could be the colonel, the priest or the professor, but it is certain that the traditional Brazilian knows that he himself does not have the discernment to decide the course of the nation alone. A very visible proof of this is that people from the Northeast vote for a pole, as long as it is indicated by someone they trust. Here in Bahia it is already the third time that Bahians elect a stranger. First it was Jaques Wagner, then it was Rui Costa and now it was Jerônimo Rodrigues. The change occurred when part of the colonels who supported ACM started to support the PT, already in 2006. The most famous of them is Otto Alencar.
The bankruptcy of Brazilian elites
If we believe in the Infallibles (the polls), Bolsonaro grew in the Northeast and declined in the Southeast. He grew where he lost and decreased where he won. The growth in the Northeast was predictable, because in 2018 a politicized and urban mass, very small in the Northeast, weighed on the election. In his second term, Bolsonaro would already be known.
The problem in the Northeast, in my view, is the elites. First, the coronelista elite. Leaving moral considerations aside, the fact is that, if the colonels had guaranteed Bolsonaro the lost votes in the Southeast, they would have entered the next government as prestigious allies, in a country that had everything to enrich itself. Instead, they will be responsible for the election of a split government, which only pleases Faria Lima, in a country that has everything to impoverish. If the colonels do charity with other people’s hats, taking money from the rest of the country to invest in a poor region, it is better to take care of other people’s hats.
But what I observed in Salvador in a traditionally elite and antiPTista indicates a change in the behavior of the elites that is not just from the Northeast, quite the opposite. My section looks like Copacabana, it’s full of well-born old people and always votes against the countryside. This time, the old ladies were in the candy store with stickers 13. I have never seen this in my life.
An anti-PT voter explained to me that she was thinking of voting for Lula because he is a sick old man who has Alckmin as his vice president. I look at Alckmin and I only see him as a member of the political group of a certain censor.
Let’s go back in time: in what period, in the history of Brazil, was TV together with the university and the dome of the Catholic Church? None occurs to me. The Church was “right-wing” in the years 60, became a veiled supporter of “abortion as a public health issue” in this election. The University was Marxist and opposed to imperialism, today it only cares about importing petty-bourgeois dramas from the US (fighting fatphobia, etc.). Both were against TV, now they are for it. And TV, which until yesterday portrayed Lula as Satan, decided that Bolsonaro is the biggest threat.
Drug trafficking and the communities
Another novelty in my wanderings around Salvador was a favela. Much has been said about the growth of crime in the city since the pandemic. This morning, by the way, I was in the waiting room in the occupational medicine office listening to peons talking about a dead PM in Cosme de Farias and the banditry all with rifle in hand doing the L. They commented that the bandits even have grenades now. The aunts, intruding on the conversation, said they were distressed with Lula in the Complexo, because Bolsonaro is friends with dangerous people and they could put a bullet in him there. The pedestrians played the misunderstanding and silenced.
But coming back. There’s a favela near which I’ve lived, where I’ve had a friend living and I’ve been to one time or another – including during the pandemic. Besides, she’s way to my college. Salvador has a very complicated relief; It’s a favela whose entrance is below and I see it when I’m going up the slope that leads to the college. I looked down and saw a new entrance, all in color; a fan blades acted as a weathervane. A sign read something like “Welcome to Calabar, a community of peace”. I had never seen this entry, and any Salvadoran knows that the Peace Command is a local faction. That’s it: drug dealers now make a pretty little entrance to mark territory. I didn’t photograph the place because I was suspicious of the guy who was standing on the way up. Soon I heard him talking to another one below, discussing whether he was federal or civilian, talking about the uniforms. That was on the way. On the way back, there were two scouts. This is a slope I climbed for years and never had an ostentatious scout like this.
All that is politically correct, now, is “community”. The term comes from US culture, but soon we are forced to speak of gay community, and call favela “community” – who knows, black community, where the police enter because they are racist. If we complain, we will be violating the “community rules” of Twitter and Facebook.
So we are left with this: Brazil is doing well because democracy is doing well. Democracy goes well because the judges are obeyed and the rights of brothers are respected in the communities. Halter is just an interior thing. And if your son becomes addicted to crack, the priests give him a few plates of food to keep him on the street with dignity. But sometimes the priest can be kinder and give a Pajero to the smallest offender, too. Ufa! Good thing we escaped the agro, which is fascist!