The man at the foot of the ramp

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By ANA LUIZA SARAMAGO STERN*

A man walked up the ramp and made himself president. A week later fascists and riot police went up the same ramp

Lula climbs the ramp of the Planalto Palace, a week later the same ramp is taken over by fascists, and after them the shock troops of the Military Police of the Federal District. It is necessary to reconquer the symbolic.

January 1, 2023. It was a man at the bottom of the ramp. Just a man standing still, as if waiting for the improbable, the impossible, the fact. After twenty years, after 580 days, after many deaths, he was a man at the foot of the ramp. He had been here before, twenty years ago, same parade, same ceremonial, same expectation, but not now like before. The years passed, the elections, the coups, the 580 days passed. 580 days trapped in violence, injustice, loneliness. Stuck with the uprising, the encamped, the Resistance. Stuck without family, without friends, without resignation. And there he was again, a man at the bottom of the ramp, but not like before.

Lula assumes a Brazil in pieces. Official pieces that the dumbfounded transition team accounts for damages, losses, debts. In pieces are public policies, culture, social security, vaccination, in pieces. In politics putting the pieces together, so many pieces, the broad front that cannot be torn apart. But, above all, society, tired, divided, in pieces. Society that mostly chose the man at the bottom of the ramp, but in another 49% of pieces would have chosen differently.

Once the election is won, a great invaluable feat, against lies, against corruption, against ignorance, against fanaticism, once the election is won, governing will require much more than has ever been necessary. Rule to put the pieces together, rule for all the pieces. Union and reconstruction, a theme wisely chosen for a Lula government, which will demand all of Lula's incomparable political skill. Sewing alliances, ministries, parliamentarians, rebuilding public policies, culture, education. Ruling an entire country in a society in pieces.

And it only took a week for the most vile piece to assert itself in violence. A week later, on the same ramp, desecrating our colors, our flag, our art, our symbols. After a week, on the same ramp, a piece of Brazilian society manifested itself in destruction. Because there is a section made up of people who don't have art, who don't see architecture, who were never told about Di Cavalcanti, democracy or the law are worthless to them. Without education, without culture, they deny politics through barbarism, they violate Freedom through hatred, they are selfies demonstrating with clamor the very negation of life.

After the shameful connivance of some, chaos installed and the Powers profaned, hours of destruction. Then, behold, finally (given the order by the authorities) order is restored to the sound of bombs, black uniforms and the caveirão. It is the riot squad that now occupies the ramp. And the consequences of the law, arrests, identifications, rioters, campers, financiers, politicians, public agents, all the bits involved in the depredation must follow. Democracy is order and it is time to restore order.

The plural political web that has just been sewn in support of the new government must work in accountability measures, political measures, speeches of disapproval. After the act, on the pieces involved, the farce quelled, the worms leave in reciprocal betrayals, deny each other, as scoundrels are wont to do, rats abandon the sinking ship, the scenes of a theater where each one passes the seek individual political survival. Like Pedro, they deny their former leader three times, knowing all that they deny now just to support him further ahead at any opportunity.

It will be necessary to expose the culprits, unravel the financing, unmask the politicians. It will be necessary to publicize the webs of virtual or real supporters, the poor or businessmen, democracy must be relentless against its opponents, as it puts itself at risk if it evades amnesties. But, in addition to this necessary adjustment, it is worth remembering that the ramp is not for the riot police. It is up to rebuild the pieces. It is up to rebuild education, culture, vaccination, social security.

May those who raped Di Cavalcanti's mulatto women be arrested, but may the next children not be preserved for fear of the weight of the law, but for the love of art and beauty. May the windows and the colors restore appreciation for the symbolic of our culture, for the true value of our history, our art. Because the colors of our flag belong to all Brazilians, the yellow of our sun, the green of our forests, do not fit on the disgusting back of a fascist. It is necessary to reconquer the symbolic.

The best weapon against fascism is the love of democracy, the breath of freedom, respect for all beings and all beliefs. Hope, joy, tomorrow must be rescued. It is up to make of all the pieces a plural and colorful mosaic of the same just and fraternal society, it is up to rescue the dream and dream. It is up to the new government, and to all of us who value democracy, a herculean task, a historic mission, a challenge of survival. Either we symbolically take the Planalto ramp, rescuing our colors, our art, our history, our culture, or they will be the ones who will be at your feet in the future.

It was a man at the bottom of the ramp, a man who went up it. Not accompanied by politicians or authorities, a man arm in arm with the people. A man went up the ramp, a child, a woman, an Indian, a dog. A man walked up the ramp and made himself president. A week later fascists and riot police went up the same ramp. Hopefully the winds of democracy will win. Hopefully, those who legitimately went up the ramp on January 1, 2023 will remain there. Because there was a man at the foot of the ramp, but it wasn't just a man who went up the ramp, behind him and with him was the crowd.

*Ana Luiza Saramago Stern Professor at the Department of Law at PUC-Rio.

 

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