A week ago I wrote briefly about the current political climate in Brazil. Today protesters took to the streets in record-setting numbers to demand the ouster of current president Dilma Rousseff, and the arrest of former president Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva. In the past, the PT (the ruling, leftist, Workers Party) has been able to dismiss these protests as reflecting the opinions of a minority. I doubt that is going to fly after these protests.
As I read the accounts (I’m currently in the US and not personally witnessing these events), I am struck by the similarities between the situation in Brazil and the “Trump phenomenon” here.
- They both seem to be grassroots movements.
- Both are fueled by anger.
- The ire is broadly directed at leftist governments.
- “Establishment” candidates on all sides are the objects of derision.
- Both contain elements that could be perceived as fascist.
Full disclosure: I am generally in favor of the sentiments expressed by the majority of the protestors. Besides beginning with flawed leftist ideology, the PT has been involved in levels of corruption that are breathtaking, even by Brazilian standards. At the same time, the social left has engaged in the same kind of marginalization of Christians and societal values as in the US. Decent, religious, hard-working people are fed up with it all, and are venting their frustration.
However, as with the Trump and his minions here in the US, there is an ugly underbelly that embraces racism, jingoism, and violence. Among the protestors can be seen those calling for a military intervention a la 1964. That did not end well then…it would be disastrous today.
By the way, in this link, keep your eye on the guy in the middle of photo on the right-hand side, second row from the bottom. His name is Jair Bolsonaro, and he is quickly going from reviled fringe politician to revered political figure. Sound familiar?
Update: edited to correct spelling and add a link.