Election Time

It is election time. Time Brazil decides who gets to be our president, our senators etc. Time in which we, as a society, pick a path, at least for the next four years. But is it different from the other elections?

For those of you who are not familiar with Brazil’s recent history, last year’s June was marked by a series of protests (some called it “Brazilian spring”). People occupied the streets asking for better public services, for the end of corruption, for the end of discrimination, among other things. By that time, many political analysts predicted that this election would be different from the others, the population would respond in a much critical way. Some, now, say this hasn’t happened.

I say it has. In a softer way than expected, but it has.

Things are getting tense as we’re a week way from election. There are three candidates with real chances of winning (something that I don’t remember happening in the past): Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, from Workers’ Party; Marina Silva, former senator, from Brazilian Socialists’ Party; and Aecio Neves, senator, from Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and, from what I could see on TV debates, they seem lost.

I’m afraid I have to say that few of their platforms are strongly connected with the Brazilian population, as they are quite similar on some ways: fight rising inflation, for instance, (which is important, indeed, but I didn’t understand fully how they’re going to do it, it’s not well explained in my opinion), without cutting government’s expenses (especially social programs). They try to get away not committing themselves (or not committing much) to important social issues, like the criminalization of homofobia (or more government policies to protect the LGBT community), legalization of abortion (a subject that never gets space to be debated), among others, so they don’t get in trouble with religious fundamentalists, who are incrisingly influencing Brazil’s politics (and the State secularism).

So, the debates focus only on one candidate accusing the other, few proposals put to discussion. They say the exact same things, even when attacking one another. I missed (deep) discussions about our foreign relations, our enviromental and energy politics, possible reforms in the educational system, in the prisional system, about how to make our public services better, more effective, about how to increase our productivity.

And why is this election different from the others? Because it not just a few people who missed these and more important subjects. A lot of people have. Now, we’re discussing politics more, we’re engaging more. We, as a society, are more critical. That’s going to turn out for the best, I hope. I always hope…

May Sunday come.

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