Jair Bolsonaro is silent. Except for a very brief pronouncement to quell a potentially harmful truck drivers’ strike, the president, famous for his mitadas in the Alvorada playpen and for his lives on Thursdays, is quiet and withdrawn for twenty long days. Naturally, the mysterious stillness arouses the most prosaic, wild and sometimes perverse speculations. After all, what would explain this option of the talkative Bolsonaro for silence?
Before recording some of the various reasons for presidential silence, let me add one more complication to this strange scenario. It turns out that Jair Bolsonaro, over three decades, made a political career and reached the highest position in the Nation through confrontation. And it wasn’t just any confrontation. Bolsonaro always liked and was liked for his energetic speeches, apparently capable of restoring order in the country, and for his simple language, with a simplicity that often offended more sensitive ears.
Now, however, Jair Bolsonaro opts for silence. In the same way that, in the last weeks of the campaign, he opted for meekness. Commendable options in a conflicted country, but that curiously do not pacify anything. On the contrary, until now Bolsonaro’s silence and meekness (the latter represented by the famous “respect for the four lines”) have only served to create tension and feed the fantasy of millions of Brazilians who, not without reason, feel wronged or not. recognize the legitimacy of the elections or refuse to submit to the juristocracy led by Alexandre de Moraes.
Meanwhile, the left, unable to glimpse the human aspect of political leaders (not even Lula himself), gloat. But not just because of the perversity that is characteristic of it. The left is very interested in provoking Jair Bolsonaro and, in this way, making the coup prophecy they have been repeating since 2019 come true. More than that, the left wants the talkative Bolsonaro to return to keep alive the idea that we spent the last four years being governed by a monster beyond indecorous.
Me give reason
The Theory of Strategic Silence, the Theory of Resigned Silence and the Theory of Depressed Silence coexist in permanent tension. The first is the preferred thesis of those who believe in the so-called silver bullet (also called the “card in the hole”), in an electoral turnaround or in a coup or countercoup. The second, as the name implies, is the thesis of the resigned, for whom the election may be illegitimate (and between us, it is), but there is nothing to be done. Not within those four lines. Finally, the Theory of Depressed Silence is the best explanation both for those who gloat and for those who maintain a human and concrete look at those involved in the abstract political debate.
Of the three, the Theory of Depressed Silence Strategic Silence is the one that seduces me the least. It seems to me that it evokes a sense of heroism and sacrifice that, although noble, do not seem to dialogue with the broader political reality of a silent Senate and a Judiciary committed to PTism. Not to mention the inaction of organized civil society and the abject complicity of the press. In other words, I don’t believe that silence is strategic because I don’t see any possibility of a revolutionary (or counterrevolutionary) objective succeeding.
The idea of a resigned silence is perhaps the least popular. Precisely because it “reduces” the hero or the “myth” to its human dimension. Yes, it really does that and it also forces us to face a frightening reality: that even the current president can be crushed by this apparently unstoppable force that is born out of the collusion between the corrupted state and capital. At the same time, Bolsonaro’s resigned silence exposes the farce of a hysterical elite that spent four years saying that he would implant a military dictatorship in Brazil.
Finally, we have the most uncomfortable theory: the that Jair Bolsonaro, after his defeat by Lula in an election contaminated by all kinds of lies and deceit imaginable, retreated into silence because he would be depressed. Let’s face it: it’s not such a remote possibility. Wouldn’t you be depressed to find yourself surrounded by a (democratically questionable) majority that prefers the prophet of corruption, Lula? Wouldn’t you be depressed to contemplate the possibility of prison in the short term? Now, let us have compassion not for the myth (which is an invention of political warfare), but for man.
The other silence
Whatever the reason for Jair Bolsonaro’s silence, at the moment I am more concerned about the silence of deputies and senators in some way associated with conservatism, anti-petism and anti-judicial activism. They are, among whom there are many “voting champions”, who at the moment have enormous political capital and could already be facing Lula and his accomplices in the Senate and the STF. And yet, with the exception of deputy Marcel van Hattem, everyone is quiet.
Where is the former Minister Damares Alves to expose the progressive tragedy represented by some names of the transition team? Where is also former minister Tereza Cristina to vehemently defend companies linked to agribusiness and whose accounts were illegally and unconstitutionally blocked by Alexandre de Moraes? Where is the ex-minister Sérgio Moro to harshly attack the absurd serial decisions of the STF? Or is everyone hoping that parliamentary immunity will be respected in the Lula-Alexandre de Moraes government?