By Rogerio Silva
Intentions are more substantial than facts during an election campaign period. Let us, therefore, have a look at the path to be traveled from now until October 7, the date of the general elections in Brazil. There are more than a dozen well-meaning presidential candidates, who, due to convenient circumstances, put to one side the reality that prevents wishes or intentions from becoming a reality. They do this by treating various issues as exceptions. This notion of exceptions gives them the freedom to gloss over or ignore how they will achieve their noble goals. For example, they propose better income distribution, without getting into social security reform. It’s just that talking about money to the poor is a good thing. But mentioning changes in retirement is bad. It scares voters away. Another tactic based on the concept of exceptions is speaking out on the need to combat violence, drug trafficking and organized crime without bringing up the need to raise taxes and generate a further burden for the taxpayer. The numbers don’t add up and once again it is convenient to talk about one without getting worn out with the other.
In the pantheon of government plans, they parade intentions that make the eyes of voters shine. Brazil coexists with so many hardships that a fanciful marketer’s mind finds brushes of all colours to paint the most outrageous solutions. In the “Esplanade of the Ministries” – almost 40 in the Dilma Government – many promises of drastic reduction of ministries: 20, maximum. The alleged president forgets about the cunning agreements he made with the battalion of political parties to make his candidacy viable. Each of the nine parties that make up his electoral alliance will want the share that belongs to them in this latifundia. But this is just an exception. It’s not a good idea to discuss it at present.
Almost 150 million Brazilians will be able to vote in 2018. But these political practices that make us so disenchanted and disbelieving, generate the phenomenon of intentional abstention. This is a big concern for the Electoral Justice system. The most recent survey counted 7 million more voters in relation to the past election. But the number of those who are not obliged to vote – 16 and 17-year olds – has shrunk by 240,000. It is not an exception. it may be a trend. When the obligation to vote is withdrawn, the voting population retreats.
Democracy is an expensive tool and the model is wearing out precisely due to campaign practices dissociated from the way of governing. An idea, a passion, or a flag is elected. And the ruler sits in a chair surrounded by limitations. But didn’t he/she know it would be like this before he/she put him/herself at the disposal of the voter?
Political behavior in Brazil is full of so-called exceptions because our history shows itself to be so. From the resumption of the direct vote for president, with the installation of the so-called New Republic, only 2 presidents have begun and finished their mandates. In 33 years, one death and two impeachments. The figure of the vice president deserves a closer look. In this year’s campaign, there are women vice presidents, a general vice president, an indigenous vice president, there are also vice president politicians with legislative office, skilled in dealing with Congress. The Brazilian goes to the polls and will see on the screen the photos of both: the president and vice-president, who may come to play the role of the president – it is always good to bear this in mind. Behind these faces lie implicit facts and intentions. Or, according to convenience, mere exceptions.
Is it or isn’t it a country of exceptions?
Rogério Silva is director of journalism for TV Paranaíba affiliated to Record TV in Minas Gerais and Educadora FM. He is also professor of Journalism at the School of Administration, Marketing and Communication – ESAMC.