rescue democracy

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

The current election represents a veritable plebiscite: what form of Brazil do we want?

We often hear threats of a coup to democracy by the current president. He accomplished what Aristotle calls kakistocracy: “the democracy of the worst”. He surrounded himself with militiamen, put a few dozen military men of authoritarian spirit in public office, still linked to the 1964 business-military revolution, made an alliance with the politicians of the Centrão who, instead of representing the general interests of the people, live on privileges and bribes and make politics a profession for their own enrichment.

I haven't seen a better realistic description of our democracy than this one by my study colleague, a brilliant intelligence, Pedro Demo. In your Introduction to Sociology (2002) emphatically says: “Our democracy is a national staging of refined hypocrisy, full of “beautiful” laws, but always made, in the last instance, by the ruling elite so that it serves it from beginning to end. Politicians are people who are characterized by earning well, working little, doing business, employing relatives and cronies, enriching themselves at the expense of public coffers and entering the market at the top… If we linked democracy with social justice, our democracy would be its own negation” .

Logically, there are honorable, ethical and organically articulated politicians with their bases and with social movements and with the people in general. But for the most part, politicians betray the classic ideal of Max Weber, politics as a mission in view of the common good and not as a profession in view of the individual good.

For decades now we have been discussing and trying to enrich the ideal of democracy: from representative democracy to participatory and popular democracy, to economic democracy, to the communitarian democracy of the Andeans (do good living), endless democracy, ecological-social democracy and, finally, planetary democracy.

All this vanished in the face of frequent attacks by the current president. This belongs primarily to the scope of psychiatry e. secondarily, of politics. We have to do with someone who does not know how to play politics, because he treats his opponents as enemies to be slaughtered (let's remember what he said in the campaign: 30 progressives must be eliminated). Brazenly claims it was a mistake of the 1964 revolution to torture people when it should have killed them, defends torturers, admires Hitler and Pinochet. In other words, he is someone psychiatrically taken by the death drive, which was clear in the irresponsible way in which he took care of Covid-19.

On the contrary, politics in a democratic regime of law presupposes the diversity of projects and ideas, the divergences that make the other an opponent, but never an enemy. All this the president does not know. Let us not even refer to the lack of decorum that the high dignity of the office requires, behaving in a silly way and embarrassing the country when traveling abroad.

We are obliged to defend minimal, representative democracy. We have to remember the minimum of the minimum of all democracy, which is equality in the light of which no privilege is justified. The other is a citizen like me, a fellow citizen with the same rights and duties. This basic equality founds the societal justice that must always be carried out in all institutions and that prevents or limits its realization. This is an immense challenge, that of inequality, heirs that we are of a society of the Casa Grande and the slave quarters, characterized precisely by privileges and denial of all rights to its subordinates.

Even so, we have to guarantee a democratic rule of law against the most different motivations that the president invents to refuse the security of the ballot boxes, to not accept an electoral defeat, signaled by polls, such as Datafolha to which he opposes the imaginative Datapovo.

The current election represents a veritable plebiscite: what form of Brazil do we want? What kind of president do we want? For all the dismantling he carried out during his administration, it is a question of confronting civilization with barbarism. If re-elected, he will lead the country to obscure situations of the past that have long been overcome by modernity. He is so obtuse and an enemy of necessary development that he directly fights science, dismantles education and deregulates the protection of the Amazon.

The current situation represents a challenge for all candidates, regardless of their party affiliation: to make a clear and public declaration in defense of democracy. I would say more, it would be a gesture of patriotism, placing the nation above partisan and personal interests, if those candidates who, according to the polls, clearly have no chance of winning or going to the second round, proclaimed support for the one who is better placed in terms of and which shows how it has already shown how to rescue democracy and help millions of hungry and disinherited millions.

We have to show ourselves and the world that there are good people, who are in solidarity with the victims of Covid-19, namely the MST, who continue to carry out culture and research. This will be a sacred legacy so that everyone will never forget that even in adverse conditions, there was kindness, intelligence, care, solidarity and refinement of the spirit.

Personally, it is uncomfortable for me to write about this minimal democracy, when I have been committed to a socio-ecological democracy. Faced with the risks we will have to face, especially global warming and its harmful effects, it is up to our generation to decide whether it wants to continue on this planet or whether it will tolerate destroying itself and a large part of the biosphere. Earth, however, will go on, albeit without us.

*Leonardo Boff is an ecologist and philosopher. Author, among other books by Caring for Earth-Protecting Life: How to Avoid the End of the World (Record).

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