No, the rest is not silence

Image: Wendelin Jacober


The docile words of the governor of São Paulo compromise the honesty of his supporters and vandalize the history of the PSDB

The rest is the “unconditional support” pronounced in outrageous volume by the governor of São Paulo, Rodrigo Garcia, of the PSDB, in front of a grim-faced President of the Republic and his enraged entourage. No, that wasn't support, it was a complete and supernatural surrender. At the end of the tragedy, the scene continues, proving that there are words after political death. Here's the rest of the rest.

That's how the corpse of the São Paulo toucanato struggled, torn apart, undone – and chattering. His death mask rattled off to microphones, photographers and videographers, following a script of prolonged humiliation. No, the mood was not campaign. None of those extras crowding around the protagonists with their arms raised and holding hands in non-partisan euphoria, none of that. The atmosphere was that of a wake, that is to say, a military wake. Fascist men don't cry, but they don't laugh either – when they allow themselves to show their teeth, they look ready to bark.

In yesterday's newspapers, the image wasn't so disastrous. In one of the photographs, there was a grimace that resembled a smile on the face of the federal incumbent. The photo was an illusion, a less somber snapshot. On the TV news, on Tuesday night, it was possible to better see the state of mind of the gang surrounding the last of the toucans. None of the bystanders, at any time, relaxed their brows. No one was smiling, not even the governor who was reciting the terms of his "support". The president and all of the president's men were looking over the spotlights, stiff, looking like few allies. They were angry. In their rarefied imagination, perhaps they played the role of troops stepping on conquered territory while the representative of the vanquished signs the “unconditional” capitulation.

Looking at such a degrading spectacle, even those who never identified themselves with the party that was intended, one day, as a social democrat, felt a pang in their soul. The PSDB has governed São Paulo for an eternity – the oldest say that since the distant 1990s. Respectable personalities have passed through its ranks.

Now, reduced to this, nothing more than this, he plays the undead converted to sabujice, clinging to the boots against which he stood up in the past. Even more unbearable is the thought that many of those scruffy profiled types were armed. Most of them praise or have already praised the military dictatorship. One there said he would restore the AI-5. And there is also the one that promised to close the Federal Supreme Court. Because there in the middle, you could see, unconditionally submissive, the head of the São Paulo Executive.

We know that the most prominent leaders of the moribund party did not follow the same path. These, coherently, oppose the President of the Republic and support, now in the second round, the candidate who can defeat him. The governor's gesture, however, lowers any dignity. His docile words compromise the honesty of his supporters and vandalize the history of the legend with which he reached the position he now holds.

Maybe he doesn't know it himself, but his attitude constitutes an attack. Sometimes, the worst violence is not physical, but is the one that takes place on the symbolic level and mortally wounds the memory that identifies us. The neo-Nazis who desecrate Jewish cemeteries are aiming to violate the holiest in those they hate the most. The surrender that we were able to witness on Tuesday can – and should – be understood as an act of symbolic desecration, even if the actor on the scene did not realize what he had done.

The subjection to which he was subjected makes the legitimate pride of the people who are or were part of the PSDB bleed, in the same way that it offends those who, without ever having joined the party, recognize in it a heritage of the democratic field. This association did not deserve to see all of its past converge towards the “unconditional support” of its opposite, it did not deserve to be reduced to a flatterer out of place mixed with usurpers who do not belong to the place they occupy.

O Estadão yesterday, in a report by Leon Ferrari and Levy Teles (p. A13), brought the news that, on social networks, a wave of prejudice is rising against people from the Northeast. In posts exhumed from the sewer of xenophobia, intolerant voices attack voters in the Northeast Region, where the President of the Republic suffered his worst defeat in the first round. Some messages call the Northeast “Cuba do Sul”. One of them asks to notify the “president of Russia that the Northeast is part of Ukraine”. Others claim that “poor people are like worms” and there are those who predict that “the donkeys of the Northeast” should “die of hunger”.

It was to this kind of furious wave that the governor of São Paulo surrendered his weak and sad forces. Now, finally, he assumes that his party is Brazil: the Brazil that denies itself, the Brazil that hates Brazil. We arrive, then, in Brazil divided above all else. A noise, an infernal stridency. The grumpy ones to whom the governor offered his “unconditional support” must think that silence is a communist thing. He might agree.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.


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