Lest my recent silence on the subject of Brazil be taken to mean that things have got better, or that little is happening, or that – heaven forbid – I am happier with the state of affairs, allow me to state my position before I go and do something more productive.
I have said before that every Brazilian is tainted by corruption or by complicity therein. It is deeply ingrained in the culture, and is the explanation for the fact that nearly all – probably all – Brazilian politicians are corrupt. But then, so is everyone else. It is normal to pay for one’s qualifications, to bribe people for things that need done officially, to avoid taxes, to win contracts, to get bank loans…and so on. This is normal, day-to-day stuff in Brazil. It is also a deeply ingrained part of the culture to think only of today and only of oneself: there is no social responsibility, no ethical conduct, no community spirit, just as there is no adequate planning, no future vision, no ‘big picture’.
The result is a society controlled by psychopathic kleptomaniacs, elected to office by an electorate which understands little and cares less, provided it has enough to get by with for the rest of the day.
This is not a complaint, but a mere statement of fact. It is also why it may be impossible for the country to resolve its current crisis – since it is not so much economic or political, as cultural. There are no good people in politics, fighting for their people or their country. There is no political idealism, nor any idealism at all: the motive for being in politics is simply a desire to be (or to remain) rich and powerful. I saw yesterday that the local (state with a small ‘s’) government has an advertising campaign on the go which seeks to amaze us all by telling us we can now find out how much individual elected officials are being paid. Online – ooooo! We are to believe that this is progress – democracy – transparency! – when in fact it is just a rather crass diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the money the same individual elected officials receive from bribes, from privileged information, from favours, from unauthorised use of infrastructure and assets, from illegal payments to friends and family, from contracts awarded to fictitious companies and from simple theft of money and goods. Salary? Who cares about that? Being a politician also puts one so far above the law that it becomes, to all intents and purposes, meaningless. And there you have it – money, power, and fuck you very much.
And frankly, whether Brazil’s president is impeached or not (the current – yawn – ‘hot’ topic), is really rather irrelevant, when more than 30% of the country’s leading politicians are currently under investigation for corruption. Will Brazil sort itself out? Will it not? Does anyone care? Well, most of the electorate doesn’t, so why should I? The road to Hell is undoubtedly paved with apathy, and Brazil is piling down the home straight right now, the winning post clearly in sight.
So I must declare that I am utterly bored with it all now. Good luck Brazil; I’m off to enjoy the sunshine and work on the escape plan.