The manifesto for the resignation

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Flavio Aguiar*

The cultural, social, economic, spiritual, moral and now health damage that this government's political farce has been causing to the country and its image has no parallel in Brazilian history.

O Bolsonaro's resignation manifesto, signed by three former presidential candidates and a few leading politicians on the national scene, introduced two new elements into the troubled Brazilian scenario, attacked by two pandemics: the coronavirus and the mediocre boçalidade that now says that governs us from the Planalto Palace and surroundings.

The first new element was the signatures: Boulos, Ciro and Haddad (on purpose, I chose alphabetical order…), plus Carlos Lupi (PDT), Carlos Siqueira (PSB), Edmilson Costa (PCB), Flavio Dino (PCdoB) , Gleisi Hoffmann (PT), Juliano Medeiros (PSOL), Luciana Santos (PCdoB), Manuela D'Ávila (PCdoB), Roberto Requião (MDB), Sonia Guajajara (PSOL) and Tarso Genro (PT). The collection of signatories outlines a necessary, broad and multi-party front of the left calling for Bolsonaro's departure.

The second new element was the breadth of the proposed agenda, coupled with the current president's resignation request, accused of committing crimes and fraud, lying and encouraging chaos. The collection of elements placed on the political table may not be new; the new element is in bringing them together in a unified and multi-party agenda, meaning, in practice, also the suspension of the chaotic neoliberal program that the government intends to implement through this second-hand prestidigitator named Paulo Guedes.

The following are elements of this agenda: avoiding contagion by the virus, protecting income from work, employment and companies; to couple the struggle in defense of health with that of avoiding the destruction of the economy; implement the reduction of social contact according to scientific criteria; increase the supply of hospital beds in ICUs; provide a permanent basic income; protect indigenous peoples, quilombolas and the homeless; suspend payment of public tariffs for the poorest during the crisis; banning dismissals at this time, also providing State aid for payment of wages and protection of medium, small and micro-entrepreneurs; taxation of large fortunes and other measures in the financial area to provide resources for the health area. The manifesto concludes with a broad call to responsibility on the part of the National Congress, governors and mayors, the Public Ministry and the Judiciary.

There is a third element that hovers like an umbrella over these initiatives, which is to put an end to the tragic farce in which the Bolsonaro government is committed, and which commits it to the spiritual destruction of Brazilian society.

Tragic farce: it is common to apply this term to the Theater of the Absurd, that of plays such as those by Ionesco, Beckett, Arrabal, Jean Genet, among others, in which life has lost its meaning and ethics its meaning. The term “farce” leads us to think of “falsity”, a representation that distorts and covers up the real. And the word “tragic” reminds us that behind or at the tip of this “falsity” lies an element that destroys human relations, such as what is threatening to happen in Brazil, reducing us to the anomie and anonymity of bent spirits, devoid of a backbone. to put them on their feet.

Expanding the meaning of the expression, it becomes clear that “farce” is often also an element of tragedy, in the classic sense of the word. It is common for protagonists or supporting actors of great tragedies to resort to farce to justify and implement their purposes and actions. One of the theater's most accomplished fakers is Iago, the conspirator who identifies in Othello (by Shakespeare) the whole origin of his ills, that is, the envy that corrodes and corrupts him from within, setting up a gigantic farce around an alleged adultery to destroy it. Less farcical is Macbeth, from the homonymous tragedy, also by Shakespeare; but he too sets up a farce in order to disguise the crime he commits: the murder of King Duncan to usurp his throne. He ends up a victim of the farcical promises that the three swamp witches make him...

Jair Bolsonaro's political behavior has everything of a tragic farce. This behavior is based on successive frauds; the greatest of them was unveiled when he, through distorted arguments, which included the misleading editing of a statement by the director of the World Health Organization, wanted to justify the proposal to replace “horizontal isolation” with “vertical isolation” in the name of “maintaining the functioning economy” to supposedly “protect jobs and wages”. The farce is evident if we take into account that among the first proposals of his government was the suspension of salary payments for months, with applause from the scum of the Brazilian lumpen-business community. Not to mention the fake-news who helped him get elected, in the biggest electoral tragedy in Brazil in its entire history. And other fraudulent actions followed in a string of nonsense that seems to have no end.

Political farce – imposing a succession of frauds – has been the hallmark of his government. What is Brazilian foreign policy, led by Ernesto Araújo, if not a tragic farce that is annihilating a secular tradition of professionalism and international respect from the Itamaraty? What is Ricardo Salles' presence in the Environment if not a tragic farce that threatens the Amazon and the entire planet? What to say about Weintraub's demolition initiatives in the Ministry of Education?

I could quote much more; let us soon reach the top of this mountain range of farces: the president's own irresponsible behavior in the face of the coronavirus, encouraging disregard for scientific evidence on the best behavior in the face of the pandemic, putting the lives of countless citizens at risk. In the face of such an album of farces, Damares Alves' behavior seems to be an island of virtue, as it seems that she really believes in the nonsense she says, like the one around the blue and pink colors for the clothes of boys and girls.

A more harmful aspect of this tragic farce is the collective inducement to fraud, stimulating, on all fronts, in all classes and segments of society, what is worst in the social scum it mobilizes: contempt, disguised as “patriotism”, for other people's lives and for solidarity, more recently mirrored in the pathetic motorcades in favor of suspending isolation as a defense against the pandemic.

The presidential farce throws those who follow it into a negative delirium that threatens the health of the country on all fronts: cultural, social, political and economic. Let us look at the German example: after the Second World War, the spiritual dismantling of the farces mounted by Nazism took decades to begin and consolidate, and today some elements of those farces, disguised as other motives (defence of Christian Europe, protection against terrorism and now against the pandemic, etc.), continually threaten to come back.

The Brazilian right has always taken pains to mount farces. The so-called Old Republic was, to a large extent, a farce, as it had nothing republican about it, starting with the fraudulent elections. The campaign against Getúlio in the 1950s was another farce, pretexting, like Lava Jato (another farce), the fight against corruption. Ditto, the 1st Coup. of April 1964, which was disguised as the “Revolution of March 31st”, the “Redeeming and Irreversible”. Jânio and Collor corresponded to other farces – always with the support of the conservative media. Dilma's impeachment was one more. The election and government of Jair Messias are just the culmination of this litany of farces.

The manifesto launched asking for Jair's resignation has the ability to wall the president within the four lines of his farce, demanding from him a true gesture, against individual and collective delusion, which is to recognize the damage and say goodbye (undress) farcical, as well as the delirium it stimulates. Will it have a practical effect? From an individual point of view, I have my doubts. Rarely do fakers give up their fakes. An external force is needed to undo the entanglement with which he deceives others, as in Molière's character Tartuffe (who has become synonymous with an impostor). It may be, however, that the manifesto will help to awaken forces capable of undoing the tragedy in which we are drowning.

One last consideration. There are hesitations in the air regarding Bolsonaro's resignation or impeachment. It is feared, for example, that Mourão is a Bolsonaro with rationality, without militias or the trifecta of children behind or in front. Could it be. But the cultural, social, economic, spiritual, moral and now health damage that this government's political farce has been causing to the country and its image has no parallel in Brazilian history, nor in the disastrous Dictatorship of 64, and look what this was - like me said--nefarious, nefarious, and abominable.

If we continue to drown in his bathtub, millions of Brazilian men and women will take decades to recover the common sense of having a backbone that does not bend before the unspeakable horror of consensual delusions. It took us 21 years to begin to unravel the cloak of horrors opened in 1964. It is possible that this time it will take us longer, if it is not undone now. To undo a seam, start with a thread. This thread is called Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

* Flavio Aguiar is a journalist, writer and retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP.

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