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Opinion: the voice of the street in Brazil must be heard and why Franz Kafka would not believe his eyes

By Flávio Henrique Santos*

(Opinion) The elections of 2022 revealed a Brazil divided, not only by its result but by the unwillingness to dialogue that dominates the political scene, causing a fierce atmosphere that persists in the workplace, in families, and social interaction in general, especially in social networks.

We are all exhausted, exhausted from not being heard, although we do not want to hear the opinion of our opponents either, and we crush everything that seems hostile in the acid of words.

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The fact is that more than three decades after the promulgation of the 1988 Federal Constitution, we have not yet learned to deal properly with democracy and, much less, to respect the rules that govern us.

We do not have Justice, we do not have Journalism, we do not have a Congress, we do not have our votes. That is why we are here. (Photo internet reproduction)
We do not have Justice, we do not have Journalism, we do not have a Congress, we do not have our votes. That is why we are here. (Photo internet reproduction)

A Constitution is not just any law but a project of society. We are – and need to be – all bound to it, not out of fear, but out of love.

And this feeling must transcend any political passion or personal ambition.

The Judiciary is constitutionally in charge of settling conflicts and cannot evade this task on a whim, vanity, or unconfessable interests.

When it acts in this way, it renounces its constitutional duty and leaves society in an answer void.

In Brazil, however, the political actors sit in one of the constitutional powers that promote disobedience and thus unlearn society.

We have more than a hundred constitutional amendments, guided by this or that government, provoked by this or that parliamentary convenience.

This is shredding the Constitution and thus deforming it so that the community learns that the rules are secondary and can be unceremoniously changed and refuted according to each one’s perspective.

Dissatisfaction about the election result is legitimate, but only a challenge formulated in the light of well-founded legal reasons can be sustained.

Likewise, the Judiciary Branch is constitutionally charged with settling conflicts and cannot evade this task on a whim, vanity, or unconfessable interests.

When it acts in this way, it renounces its constitutional duty and leaves society in an answer void.

On the other hand, this lack of love for the Constitution explains the expansion of the judiciary’s actions, which, through its highest ranks, has not only muzzled the executive but also silenced the legislative.

And when Parliament is silent, the people react, taking back for themselves the exercise of power that they delegated to their representatives.

The ideal civic gesture would be the self-restraint of the Judiciary, opening the way for the resumption of a healthy dialogue with the Executive Branch and stopping the asphyxiation it has caused to Parliament.

But, indifferent to the due legal process, the Supreme Court STF and, more recently, the Superior Electoral Court TSE institute arbitrary actions and – with free rein – impose censorship on citizens, deprive parliamentarians of their voices, open shady investigations, invade the assets of individuals and companies, break secrets, violate privacy, decree illegal arrests, among other excesses that we see growing every day.

The situation is reminiscent of a judge from the work of the Czech writer Franz Kafka, for whom the principle is that guilt is always beyond doubt and therefore does not need to be proven.

The people, in particular, are demonstrating against this.

Perplexed, though peaceful, a vigorous part of the Brazilian population is occupying the streets, crowding in front of the Armed Forces commandos, in an unusual plea, precisely because the three powers of the Republic are not listening to them.

The Executive is silent, the Legislative is hiding, and the Judiciary occupies a space that does not belong to it.

It doesn’t seem to be only the result of the last electoral contest held to choose the future president of the Republic that animates these manifestations, but the entire process that preceded and succeeds it.

Commanded and ratified above all by the Supreme Court, which should be responsible for guarding the Constitution, but has long been stifling it, bringing as a consequence the imbalance between the powers of the Republic and the indignation of an expressive part of Brazilian society.

We must acknowledge that the wound left in our memory by the military dictatorship confuses the constitutional role of the Armed Forces.

It is their duty, in these times of political anomaly, to guarantee the rule of law the restoration of national order in the face of the inexorable violation of constitutional powers in Brazil.

They are not called upon to intervene to take over power but to guarantee its perfect functioning, returning to the constituted powers the environment for a harmonious command of the nation, thus pacifying society.

But do we need this? Our leaders lack humility!

The ideal civic gesture would be the self-restraint of the Judiciary, paving the way for the resumption of a healthy dialogue with the Executive Branch and stopping the stifling that it has been causing to Parliament, especially when a new legislature is about to occupy the National Congress.

It is now time to wave to the nation with a gesture of reverence, recognizing that the state is for the people and not the other way around.

But while they proclaim to the international community that Brazil is a democracy and respects its Constitution, the ministers of our high courts despise the people.

“You lose, airhead!” summed up the enlightened Roberto Barroso.

Let’s hope the voice of the streets is heard in the proper time and manner.

* Flávio Henrique Santos is a lawyer.

With information from Gazeta do Povo

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