Crimes against Democracy

“Liar!” “Crook!” “Do you use Viagra?” “[Do I have to] perform an exorcism!” Here is a summary, in a few diatribes, of the last televised debate between Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro, the two finalists in the Brazilian presidential election*. A caricature? Unfortunately not: The world’s eighth largest economy is preparing to elect its head of state today and there was almost no mention during the campaign of projects, ideas, economic or geopolitical options.

Violent words in Brazil, violent acts in the United States. Ten days away from the midterm elections that will usher in a new House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was targeted by a hammer attack at her home in San Francisco. The Democratic representative was not present; it was her 82-year-old husband, Paul, who was seriously injured. His attacker claims to be a member of the QAnon conspiracy movement, the same one that had initiated, with Donald Trump’s blessing, the invasion of Congress.

From an institutional point of view, Brazil and the United States remain true democracies. But for how much longer? At this stage of degenerating political mores, Bolsonaro’s and Trump’s ideas are not the issue; the problem is their amoral conception of conquering and exercising power. With them, lies and disinformation tend to be trivialized, to become norms, which, little by little, poison minds. These men are guilty of repeated crimes against democracy. That’s why, even if for them a lost election means that it had to be rigged, they must absolutely be defeated in both upcoming elections.

*Editor’s Note: Lula da Silva won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, Oct. 30.

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