“Lord, where my plans are not Yours, destroy them!”
– attributed to Saint Augustine
I don’t like titles in the form of questions, but in this case could not be avoided. Maybe because of my velvety voice, my Lombrosian forehead, or my small, inherently sad eyes, people believe I have answers to some questions that just keep me awake at night because… Well, because I’m really sleepy. And the question I’ve heard the most in recent days is precisely the one that brought you here: what will become of us if Lula wins the elections?
The most surprising thing is that I have, yes , an answer to this question. An answer that so far has been met with disappointment. With tiredness. Or, at best, it has gone in one ear and out the other. But patience. It is enough for me that in bars, cafes, bus stops and bank queues I offer the answer with the best of intentions. What’s more, my control over the words I say or write ends as soon as they become sound waves or electromagnetic pulses on your computer or cell phone screen.
Before listening to the answer, however, I want to say that the mere mention of this ubiquitous electoral/existential anguish in Brazilians less than a week before the presidential elections is a sign that there is something very, very, very wrong with the way we view politics (and life). After all, it is in this policy that we are led to place hopes and fears previously reserved for God and nature, respectively. Aren’t you scandalized by this?
Well, you should. Note how serious it is to believe that the individual decisions of millions of strangers who vote for the most different reasons are equivalent to a hurricane or earthquake and, therefore, represent a threat to yours, mine, our existence. Or else that these same decisions represent the possibility of seeing a fantasy of perfection come true. Realize how the idea of voting as a gesture of extreme consequence, be it hope or nightmare, puts a weight on the shoulders of ordinary people, me and you, that no one is able to bear.
No one wants to hear that annoying noise from the urn and think that their vote will represent someone else’s despair. In the same way, no one wants to ever have the opportunity to throw in the face of friends, family or co-workers that their vote somehow represents the annihilation of the opponent.
when it comes to ideas (and, for all intents and purposes, the democratic dispute is just a confrontation of ideas), it is madness to think that just two digits typed into a machine can represent the ruin or salvation of a person or country. And yet, that’s exactly what you and I have been thinking these past few days. That is, that our vows will save us from a horrible future or push us into a dark abyss over which hungry birds of prey fly in circles.
To those who ask me “what will become of us if Lula wins”, therefore, I have answered with two words joined by an additive conjunction. So would it be three words? Let it be: we will fight and survive. It seems like an idle answer, even said with a certain boredom. Far from it. It is my most sincere response to this dilemma that has another background: what power do we have in the face of such historical forces? Even without articulating the issue in this way, there are those who, at this very moment, in front of a green-yellow t-shirt or a PT flag, suffer because they feel crushed by the world. As if an individual were not able to resist the eventual perversity of the majority.
Yes. Are. Which is not to say that these same historical forces, depending on who is in power, will not humiliate us or make us suffer. No mincing words: if Lula wins the election, I believe that everyone’s cross will be a little heavier. Values we reject will be imposed on us. We will find it more difficult to buy our daily bread. Maybe even work gets harder. Not to mention the moral frogs (and morals) that we will have to swallow when we know that we are surrounded by people willing to vote for an ex-convict who is a puppet of progressives and communists. But we will fight. And we will survive.
I don’t know if you’re one of those people who are all desperate, oscillating between hope and panic with each new election poll. Unable to imagine being elated or unhappy on October 3rd. If not, great. Ignore this paragraph. If so, I enthusiastically recommend reading Viktor Frankl’s In Search of Meaning. There is something powerful in knowing that even in the midst of one of the greatest human tragedies of all time, a tragedy caused by the worship of a man, a party and a corrupt idea of science, there were honorable attitudes and displays of love.
We will fight. Each with their weapon, but without the affectation of the leftist resistance to imaginary fascism. Some will make heated speeches in the tribunes of the House or Senate. Others will deliver judgments based on principles. There will be those who will struggle with laughter or the urge to make people laugh. There are also those who will simply kneel before God. In any case, we will face this ordeal more and, as much as it pains me to reproduce a commonplace here, we will come out of it stronger. If not as a people, as individuals.
And we will survive, dear reader. We will survive. We will laugh one day and cry another. We will complain about the excess or lack of work. We will scold the younger generations. If there is a line to buy bread, we will tell a stranger that everything is expensive and that it is not as cold in winter as it used to be. Of the plans that we will continue to make, some will come to fruition and others will not. Our love will be returned here and rejected there. We will survive – until we don’t survive anymore, because that’s the natural course of things.
In this way, on the last day of our lives, and regardless of what happens this Sunday and in the four years years, with any luck, we will be able to look into the eyes of our great-grandchildren and, with a last sigh, confess: I fought and lived.