It's over, Bolsonaro

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The former captain served well for the purposes of destroying the “system”, that is, the regime inaugurated with the 1988 Constitution, which sought to combine political democracy with a reduction in social inequality.

By Bernardo Ricupero*

On March 16, the day after Jair Bolsonaro fraternized with his supporters in a demonstration against Congress and the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the president was surprised by the remark: “it’s over, Bolsonaro”.

The astonishment must have been greater because it was uttered in the “enclosure” of the Alvorada Palace, a space where admirers of the retired captain usually gather to meet him at the end of the day, when he also takes the opportunity to harass journalists there. gifts. Perhaps the astonishment of the first representative was greater since the warning was made by a black man, while the locals are usually white and middle class. In addition, he spoke with an apparently Haitian accent, which allowed Bolsonaro to dodge, claiming not to understand his words.

The date of observation by the anonymous Haitian calls attention. On March 16, the new coronavirus began to appear in Brazil; no deaths had yet been announced, 236 people being infected at the time. One of the headlines Folha de São Paulo of the day even observed: “Foreseeing quarantine, São Paulo residents fill up cafes, bars and restaurants”.

Two weeks later – when there were already 165 dead and 4661 infected by the coronavirus in the country – the left finally decided to echo the anonymous Haitian. The manifesto, signed by presidential candidates Fernando Haddad, Ciro Gomes, Guilherme Boulos, Flávio Dino, by the presidents of the PT, PDT, PSB, PC do B, PSOL and PCB and other leaders of the progressive field, basically repeats the statement made in the “playpen” from the Planalto Palace: “it’s over, Bolsonaro”.

That is, it points out that the president is today the main obstacle in Brazil to combat the biggest pandemic of the last hundred years. It is a pity that an initiative like this did not come earlier, more specifically, between the first and second rounds of the 2018 election. Many knew at the time that Bolsonaro had enormous potential for destruction, but no one imagined that he could be responsible for the deaths of so many people. people.

True, one can always say: better late than never. It is also possible to argue that the need to counter Bolsonaro was not so evident a year and a half ago. Especially because many of the reasons responsible now for the de facto end of his government were the same ones that contributed to his election. Among these reasons, there is the “style”, or rather, “lack of style” of the retired captain, which is not a minor factor when dealing with a self-confessed admirer of the cel. Brilliant Ustra.

A sign of this is that to characterize Bolsonaro’s twenty-eight years as a deputy, it is necessary to resort to terms such as violence, rudeness, disrespect, misogyny, etc. On the other hand, these “qualities” made the obscure parliamentarian for Rio de Janeiro different from other politicians in the eyes of a considerable sector of the electorate. As all of them would be “communist”, “corrupt” or simply part of the “system”, the way was opened for it to become a “myth”.

Bolsonaro served especially well for the purposes of destroying the “system”, that is, the regime inaugurated with the 1988 Constitution, which limply sought to combine political democracy with a reduction in social inequality. Liberals were ready to support, shamefully or not, the demolition work, since they considered the social contract of redemocratization exhausted. The media soon embarked on a kind of mantra, repeated to exhaustion, according to which fiscal spending would be excessive and would make “reforms” essential.

On the other hand, what is called a natural calamity has shown the price of this work of political annihilation. Proof of this is the ineffectiveness of the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, in adopting measures that alleviate the situation of the most vulnerable to the pandemic, supposedly terrified by the possibility of being accused of not complying with the “golden rule” of the Budget. The contrast is stark with the US, where an additional $2 trillion package was swiftly approved due to a bipartisan agreement.

On the other hand, the most important instrument that Brazil has to face the coronavirus is perhaps the main creation of the 1988 Constitution: the Unified Health System (SUS). Not by chance, our patients will be treated in the vast majority of the largest public health system on the planet.

In deeper terms, the worldwide advance of neoliberalism over the last forty years has helped to undermine the foundations of social solidarity, making us more vulnerable to a pandemic like the coronavirus. This process took place in parallel with the creation of the imitation of the Brazilian welfare state, the two developments coming into conflict and sometimes even becoming confused. More recently, we have experienced the uberization of work, in which supposed entrepreneurs are virtually without any social protection.

The world and Brazil after the coronavirus can no longer be the same. In line with the urgency of the situation, Congress is trying to bring movements closer to the left and the center to face the pandemic. One must go further and directly target the main obstacle to public health action: the President of the Republic. However, the retired captain is just the expression of a broader orientation. And as the anonymous Haitian noticed: “it’s over, Bolsonaro”.

*Bernardo Ricupero He is a professor at the Department of Political Science at USP.

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