Brazil’s so-called “Wall of Shame” is a temporary metal fence constructed across Brasilia's central esplanade to separate those who were protesting in favor and against President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment. The need for the partition symbolizes all that divides Brazilians; however, the need also underscores the passion Brazilians share for democracy. More importantly, the massive outcry over the political scandal is democracy in action. Ultimately, the lower house of Congress overwhelmingly voted in line with 60% of Brazilians, who supported the impeachment of once popular Rousseff, which actually bodes well for democracy.
Impeachment is not a pleasant process, yet it is a necessary safeguard intended to protect democratic nations against corrupt, abusive, and/or inept leadership. Accusations that Dilma Rousseff was involved in a plot to divert money from state-owned companies to support her reelection bid and hide a massive budget deficit are serious, yet not uncommon in Brazil. Unfortunately, Brazil’s economy and society have long been corroded by massive corruption at the hands of self-serving political elites. Supporters of Rousseff, therefore, see their President as a victim of hypocritical politicians in a sea of corruption seeking to seize power.
In many respects, the current political drama is part of the overall battle between hardliner socialists and capitalists that continues to define South American politics years after the Cold War ended for the rest of the world. On the other hand, Rousseff is to blame for her own impeachment. Although self-proclaimed capitalists seek power to institute “free market” policies that allow them to profit by neglecting the economic interests of average Brazilians, Rousseff’s attempt to shield her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prosecution by appointing him to her Cabinet was seen as an admission of guilt, thereby sealing her fate.
That said, Brazil needs to hold its political leaders on both the Left and Right accountable for their corrupt ways. It needs to purge its political system of such rulers. The fall of the highly popular Rouseff and Lulu is disheartening, yet it forces the issue of corruption to the surface. In fact, the massive democratic action has gripped Brazil in the wake of this scandal serves as an example to all democracies. With the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the economic woes of Latin America attracting attention, there is a chance to address deeply entrenched political issues faced by many developing and developed countries across the globe.
Furthermore, a strong and stable society is built on the balancing of a population’s interests. Even though reliance on diverging public perceptions and perspectives can make democracy dysfunctional in the short-term, the nature of effective democracy helps ensure those interests are expressed and addressed in the long run. When political leaders are short-sighted, self-serving, and/or so self-righteous that they belief they are the only ones capable of ruling their nation, however, true democracy cannot take root.
When the Arab Spring Revolutions first captured the attention of the world, there was great hope for peace through democracy as well as great hesitation thanks to all that could go wrong. Unfortunately, the refusal of entrenched governments and hardliners to embrace democratic reforms, e.g. Libya and Syria, resulted in armed conflict and power vacuums that allowed extremists to take root. Hastily arranged elections, such as in the case of Egypt, empowered those who only serve special interests, thereby generating unnecessary civil stifle. As this writer has long asserted, the democratization process is not quick nor is it free of failures.
Despite all the setbacks for democracy and failures of emerging leadership around the globe to properly govern, the vast majority of countries are democratization. In fact, the International Community is itself democratization, i.e. we no longer live in a mono- or bipolar world dominated by the agendas of superpowers enjoying the only true sovereignty as all nations are more and more expressing their interests on the world stage. What is driving this democratization of our International Community of democratizing nations is a shift in thinking.
The truth is that most societies are not necessarily seeking to become more democratic. In reality, the many Peoples of the world have simply been trained to think more democratically. The Americanization of the globe over the past half-century or so has not simply spread rock’n’roll, blue jeans, and Coca Cola around the world. From its birth to its rise as the world’s only superpower, the United States shifted the notion of government itself. Instead of governments existing to be served by their populations, legitimate governments now exist solely to serve their populations.
Under this paradigm shift, people have started considering their needs and wants above the agendas of the political elite. Massive civil unrest and outright uprisings against dysfunctional, self-serving, and oppressive governments across the globe demonstrate how powerful a simple change in how people think can impact the world. Brazil’s ascend as a global economic power may have stalled due to weak commodity prices while it continues to face massive poverty and great wealth disparity along with its political troubles, democracy is thriving in Brazil, which empowers the increasingly boisterous poor and other disenfranchised groups in Brazil.
Read old posts