Here in my shopping mall, there’s a library that I’m quite found of. Many are the times in which I sit there to read a book: currently, I’m reading “The Silkworm”, by J.K. Rowli… I mean, Robert Galbraith, which is a novel quite heavy-handed in its attempts to be adult and matured, but that ultimately feels involving and captivating, like any whodunit should be. I take the books from the shelves and I sit down for a reading: before I notice, I spend two hours sitting there. However, that place is not just a library: it’s also a point for you to have a coffee, to buy games, DVD’s, Blu-rays and toys. It's a place for personalities to introduce their new books. Last Monday was such day: I arrived at the library to resume reading Miss Rowling’s latest crime fiction when I noticed the canvas screen was unfolded, and that the chairs were configured towards it: someone was going to introduce a book tonight. I ignored it and started reading, but I couldn’t help but to notice the image that was being projected at the canvas: it was about a book titled “They Lied to my About Disarmament”. You know where this is going.
As I sat there, reading, the writers were ready to start their presentation: they were part of a movement called “Hurray Brazil”, or “Live Brazil” (“Viva Brasil”). And their logo – revealed in the screen when they started to distribute autographs – was of a handgun. And many were searching for their signatures, looking up to these guys. I decided to get out of there before I would hear something I would regret hearing. As I said here in DA before, these people are part of a movement entitled here in Brazil as “the New Right”. The right has always existed in Brazil, but after the Dictatorship, it became shamed, to the point their ideas would be seem as retrograde. Until now.
You see, the Worker’s Party – the PT – has been in power for so long that some people are starting to beg for some change. This is quite natural: when you have a figure in power for quite some time, opposition parties start to gain power, with the promise of being something new for the country. The PT has not been conducting a moral revolution in Brazilian politics: if anything, their politics seem as corrupted as the parties that came before. In the last election, many has been said of the economy, the state of Petrobras, and of course, the inflation. President Dilma declared “everything was under control”, in such a simple and vague manner that it made me consumed about how aliened people should be to simply go with that. But as soon 2015 arrived, the prices rocketed: it seemed that PT was holding the inflation until the next year, after Dilma was safe and re-elected. And that was the drop of water.
The people felt revolted. They assumed the PT lied to the people. Some felt betrayed. And as a result, the PT is passing through the most fragile moment in its history, as people go on in nationwide protests against the party. And this was the moment the New Right came to light: they would represent the “country that was taken from its people”, while the PT is being seem as the bogeyman, the monster. But the Right still is the Right, and they are bringing their traditional ideas that bring consummation to me. As I saw in the library, there’s being a greater increase in Right-wing books, criticizing the left, the PT, and its followers. Books that were at first “fascist” material are now becoming best-sellers, more accessible to mainstream readerships. Brazilians are less and less horrified with the idea of a military intervention, as things got to a point people actually want the Military Forces to take back the Government, almost like admitting democracy in Brazil is prejudicial. The left-wingers are becoming more and more cowardly: their voices are being shouted down by the hysterical shouts of the New Right, which is becoming braver and braver, more outspoken.
Some of their ideas are to bring back those Christian morals that in the end, never abandoned the nation, but that were relegated as too “politically incorrect” for our 21st Century society. The writers I saw in the library wanted to introduce the gun culture to Brazil: their book wanted to remind Brazilians of their forgotten gun rights, and wanted them to take action for themselves in case of danger. Which is a good idea, but that would never really catch flight in the great Disarmament campaign in the early 00’s, when disarming was seen as the solution to fight criminality. Figures like Jair Bolsonaro – the flagship of the New Right – are becoming more respected and less shamed by the media as they once were, and people are adopting their ideas fast. Moreover, their ideas don’t invole to invest in education, even because “intellectuality” is seen by some as a leftist word. Instead, their solution to diminish crime is to reduce the legal age from 18 to 16: a perennial right-wing wet dream. Something I do agree with, but only in short terms: in long terms, what will reduce the index of crime is to take children from the streets and to put them in the schools, instead of jails. I have talked about this before here in DA, but giving intellect to the people is not in the agenda of the Right. And to be perfectly fair, it’s not in the agenda of the Left neither: both want to keep Brazilians in the shadows of ignorance, for this is the best way to manipulate the nation. While older citizens that were nostalgic of the Military Dictatorship would have to hide their nostalgia, now they have the opportunity to come out and declare how “everything was better back in the 70’s and 80’s”. And they are being applauded. Old fashioned anti-commies are coming to light, and some are so paranoiac and so hostile about the Left that they would make the American Tea Party look centrist in comparison.
The bottom line is: the Right is on full throttle, with its popularity rising. If this momentum will hold for the next four years, this is not known, but the PT is on its biggest low in decades. It’s losing affiliates, supporters, and being all around attacked from all corners. The people elected Dilma by a margin of merely 3 million votes over moderate right-winger Aecio Neves, which proved a great deal of the nation didn’t want the PT anymore. I said once that when Lula – the most beloved leader of this country since Getulio Vargas – step in to run for presidency again in 2018, he would win with an easy streak, but now that PT is on the mud, I have my doubts. The thing is that Brazilians don’t vote wisely. They don’t vote thinking about the whole picture, but only in their own interests. People voted for PT because of their social supporting programs, but there were many other aspects they didn’t take into consideration. Brazilians lack the intellect to make the right choice in front of the urns, and at the same time, this is valid to both the left and the right.
A rivalry broke into the nation: people are more hostile towards each other, and this didn’t start from the Right. In this election, PT knew that Dilma’s popularity wasn’t as strong as Lula’s at his elections. So they knew there would have to be a political bloodbath like no other in the history of this country. They knew they would have to destroy the reputation of whoever stood in front of Dilma: first Marina Silva, and then Aecio Neves. Marina was too pure to fight back, foolishly believing Brazilians to have the intellect to see truth from calumny and defamation. She started very promising, but was ran over by PT’s machine. When it was Aecio’s time to be attacked, he and his party fought back, and it was a free-for-all muddy fight to put to shame all the smut in Brazilian television. Lula, Dilma and Aecio implemented a football rivalry into the voters, and groups became more aggressive and less cordial with each other. Brazilians became politicized like never before, but not in a good way: one voting group would make a condescending speech about the “obviously imbecile” other. We became – at least for now – the polarized nation that America is. And all I could remember in this mishmash were the “Trash Culture” comments in the internet. Don’t you know what that is? Lend me your time and I’ll explain it to you.
You see, there are some Brazilians that deeply resent their country. They’re not as polite as me right now, but they resent many aspects of our society. How we hate America; how we love America; how ignorant we are; how we like stupid things; how we elect stupid candidates; how we love football, soap operas and football; how we don’t value the hard work of some people; how we don't understand the situation of some artists/athletes/people before criticizing; how we don’t put ourselves into other people’s shoes; how we like to cheat over others; how we value more what Brazilians do than what other countries do; how we diminish the importance of foreigners; how selfish we can be; how blind to the facts we can be… they resent what a “trash culture” we are (“lixo de cultura”, or “cultura de lixo”). In a way, you can’t blame them for their feelings: most of them are overreacting, but there is a string of truth in these declarations. Brazilians are not intellectual in a large scale. When it comes to education, we think we’re alright, but we’re just okay. And everyone knows: being okay is akin to an insult.
The Trash Culture comes from the ignorance of people. This ignorance comes from how our public schools educate our children bellow the necessary. The lack of investment of education – which could be perfectly done, since money doesn’t lack in public funds – comes from inoperative governments: either corrupt, incompetent, or using of tacit technics to keep the people ignorant. Governments that are elected by these people. And the circle continues until someone throws a wrench into these vile gears. And again: even when people gather to protest, they do not know in full what they are asking for. They have no idea how brutal and dangerous another dictatorship can be. They literally want something they have little idea of what it is.
And how can we end the trash culture?
I know the answer may seem repetitive and even vague, but education can. If you bring intellect to people in a large scale, people will gradually come to realize how big and complex the world around them is. How America is not the boogeyman, nor the superhero people make it to be. How other cultures can be superior to Brazilians, but we shouldn’t give a damn about it: we should improve for the benefit of our population, and not to be better than anyone. How football is entertainment, and not something worthy to kill for. How soap operas and Big Brother are actually not meant to be shamed, for they are just – once again – entertainment, that is not supposed to alienate people, but to make them happy. How there are more than one view about the same matter. How the world is bigger than Brazil, and there are so many things we don’t know about. So I’m sorry to say this: there is indeed a Trash Culture in our country. For certainly it’s not the whole society, but it exists on a large scale. And the way to fight it is not by eliminating these people, as some angry reactionaries from the internet would want, but to go to the streets and to fight for something that really needs to be fought for. Something that could unite both leftists and rightists. Not a dictatorship, but education.
And I don’t mean “okay education”. I mean real education.