The shifting chronicle of the precipice

Image: Axel Vandenhirtz


The concept of Democratic rule of law yearns for a much more real life

Ladies and gentlemen, today we are going to talk about a concept that longs for better days – it is our democratic State of law, and which always needs political, legal and sometimes also police chronicles, because social chronicles do not do it justice. We will see a part of this social chronicle that cuts our lives.

In the real world, which is also covered by the social chronicle, many detractors say exactly that: “here comes the democratic rule of law blahblah blah”. By the way, what is this blah blah blah, this type of people still occupying the planet Earth, in 2023?

As is known, with this expression (blábláblá) they mean “what a bunch of talk”, “here it comes again, more waste of time” or, worse still, as seen with the former occupant of the Planalto, “let’s see these four lines ”. The people, in general, have no idea what it is about, however, the opportunists on the right and left take advantage of the planned disinformation.

Many of the people say that “theory in practice is different”. I understand that a lot of people say that because you don't have adequate, quality education, so you don't know what theory is. It is not known that theory is not detached from reality – and if it is far from the real world it is not theory, but ideology: a kind of distortion of reality.

Further to the left, they say that everything boils down to the so-called bourgeois State and that, by changing the State, doing away with the State, everyone's life would be much better. In 2023, a social revolution is preached without measuring consequences. There is no discussion here of the enormous levels of social inequality, which affront us in conscience and in the flesh, this is obvious. We need to change a lot, take a turn to the left, as they say in politics. However, using the supposed social revolution as a chant or cake recipe for all social ills is very simplistic, it is inconsequential, it is ideological and inoperative, that is, the current reality is not even considered when it is proposed to apply a magic formula, listed and led by saviors of the homeland.

Far to the right, it is said that the State protects the defeated, the lazy, that the State is pernicious by inhibiting that “each one does his own story for himself” – or much further to the right, it is reduced to such narratives, simply, the assumption that the absence of the state would lead to the victory of the strongest and the death of the weak. It is a different kind of fascism compared to Mussolini's political project in Italy or Hitler's Nazi state. It is obvious that these were not minimal states – they were maximized states by the militaristic, psychotic plutocracy of that time.

Anyway, in any case, a pernicious and recurrent problem is incurred, which I will call here “leveling down”, typically ideological, simplifying or distorting reality.

First, that the common criticism assumes that the State is a blank piece of paper, a tabula rasa, on which some smartass inscribes some generic, abstract rules and puts reality underneath them, of this deformed condition. This, in itself, is preposterous, since there is no form of power that is a type of “white plate”, validating anything you want. Power is filled by those who hold it, that's even more obvious. There will never be an “empty space”, an uninhabitable time when the first walker walks through the door – the struggle for power is a deadly, fatal struggle. And the State is a form of power, also called Political Power – and it is not just any political power, it is a very specific power: centralized, organized, sovereign. Or simply not a state.

Then, equally serious, state and law are confused, in the same package, as if the key and the lock were the same thing, had the same function, the same purpose of use. Anyone who has ever seen a key and a lock knows that nothing would be more absurd compared to this leveling from below. Incidentally, any leveling down is crushing, useless as a means of analysis. It has no validity.

Another way, now valid, of constructing a critique, would say that the concept is not very clearly effective in Brazil. This is a fact, if we observe that 80% of the population considers that we live in a racist country. The immense social inequality, the lack of parity, isonomy between men and women are just a few more examples, as well as the lack of desirable quality for health and public education. About this there is no doubt; perhaps with the difference in emphasizing that it is not a conceptual problem, deviation, but rather the ineffectiveness of the theory of the republican, democratic state, when we observe the allocation of public resources – and their deviations to the corrupt accumulation of the public thing itself.

In reality, the concept is a model, an ideal, permeated by fundamentals, goals and political-legal remedies to be observed. It is an ideal, therefore, that needs to be put into effect in terms of an adequate allocation to its objectives and principles. But it is a different ideal, since it contains the means, the instruments, the forecasts necessary for its realization: like the provisions aimed at social justice, attacks on democracy and the fight against racism – in this case, under the forecast of non-bailable and imprescriptible crimes.

So, it is obvious that it is a practical, pragmatic concept, aimed at social satisfaction, interaction, emancipation and isonomy or equity. It is definitely not a catatonic ideal, merely decorative and exploratory; it is a true constitutional utopia, in the best sense of something to be achieved, with the resources and means already available: it is a desirable and viable Utopia.

On the other hand, we can also say, reaffirm, that the expression democratic rule of law is announced right in the preamble of the Federal Constitution of 1988 - and that this preamble is an active, definitive part of the constitutional order, that is, it is the guideline of constitutional law itself. Our Constitution is a political charter and has a certain and historically recognized destination. “Our” concept has history, it has ballast, it has veracity built by popular struggles – as they say, it was built at the cost of a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It did not fall from the sky nor was it engendered by the head of an enlightened person. It is an Enlightenment Constitution, there is no doubt, however, without enlightened ones that holds the power of truth: it is a Constitution in which citizenship is active and participatory.

Maybe, in the future, we can read someone telling this same story as if it were a chronicle – and the chronicle, as we know, belongs to everyday life. The legitimate daily life in which our lives are placed and in which we place ourselves in front of others. The legitimate everyday life in which criticism could be shaken by the gaze of someone who wanders without a precise, exact meaning, just watching life go by in the form of a reality common to all of us.

Who knows, in an imaginary chronicle, but one from the near future, in this chronicle of ours there will no longer be fictional characters, stories that just pass before our eyes. That in this chronicle nothing is vague, empty, and that it is inoculated with shared meanings. Or that these characters are so close to our reality that we see ourselves in each one of them – in a decent way, honestly with what we want for ourselves and for others.

It would not be a police report, journalistic, to fill the vision with blood. It would be a chronicle that would happen here and there, in a fishermen's net, like Dorival Caymmi: without nostalgia. On the contrary, we would be seeing the sea breeze in which political reality was gradually, solidly, without hallucinatory outbursts, solidifying itself as a transformed reality.

In this chronicle, there would be no child on the street, helpless, woman harassed, assaulted, nor man who had lost fearlessness in the face of wrongdoing, his own harm and that of others. In this chronicle of public life, people, characters would not be afraid of hate, would not be afraid of other people. Our characters would be educated, fed, nourished with philosophy and wisdom. Children would be our future and not our fears.

Our chronicle, as this literary genre wants it, would not fall apart after reading it, it would not be old newsprint, nor an erased canvas, because we would all be there, as if on a beautiful walk in the park. One day, like this sunny day when I write and talk to you, our lives will have this meaning. The concept would be the best way of understanding reality, utopia would not be belief, but the march of history. In this chronicle, on any given day – which is to come – no worker would be abandoned, no worker would be accused of being a woman. By the way, just by these two statements, it is easy to see how far we are, separated, from a world that needs to be more obvious – or rather, from a reality in which the obvious no longer needs to be defended.

Is a chronicle what we want for us?

Undoubtedly, a chronicle of everyday reality, well measured by our potential, well calibrated with our needs, well balanced by our wills that need to be done, redone, by all. It would be a chronicle of a “new social contract”. Of course, it would be, because the current social contract rules out the vast majority of the Brazilian population. And can this “new social contract” be made, redone? Yes, it can, if there is legitimacy in the political, social, legal action that builds our daily chronicle.

That is there in the formula of the democratic State of law, that is in the obvious that should be a common reality, it should be howling, without the need for me to be here, and you there, saying and repeating that same obviousness. With that we see how much we need to advance, so that the obvious is so obvious that no one else has to repeat it to themselves and to others.

It is a mature real-concept; as the matuto says, it just needs to mature.

I don't like to repeat obvious things, neither do you – I'm sure –, because it's worse than telling a dull, boring joke, and several times. That is why I would like to finish for today by assuring that this is an open concept for the future, for a “doing politics” in which our realities intersect, aligning themselves on the common (teleological) path, and committed to the social chronicle. what we want for ourselves and others.

Welcome, welcome, to this future social chronicle – in which, above all, from now on, you, wherever you are, will give continuity to these few lines and few words of interpretive and helpful common sense to a concept that yearns for a much more real life.  

Is there a cliff ahead? For those who didn't understand anything maybe; by the way, yes, there is. I am referring to those who are obliged to better understand this concept that requires reality, not veracity (these are different conditions), and they do not. And the cliff is the same for everyone. However, I want to believe that we will have the strength to overcome the bridge that separates us.

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez He is a professor at the Department of Education at UFSCar.

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