October 27, 2002. I was sitting with the Brazilian Bombshell in a Brazilian restaurant in Orlando, FL. It was my birthday, and Brazilian cuisine was my present. It was also the birthday of one Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva, and his birthday present was a little bigger: he had just been elected President of Brazil. We watched on the big screen as the crowds thronged him, making it difficult for him to get to the waiting limo that would whisk him to where he would give his victory speech. Police officers surrounded him in order to let him pass.
He was the savior, the one who would redeem Brazil from her history of scandal and corruption.
Fast forward almost fourteen years. Lula served two terms, and successfully elected his successor–Dilma Rousseff–who is now in her second term. But somewhere in the middle of Dilma’s first term, things began to unravel for Lula and his Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). Accusations of corruption began to surface. At first they were little puffs of smoke on the Brazilian landscape. But they grew and grew, and now they are a raging forest fire that is wreaking havoc with the nation. Lula has tried hard to distance himself from the scandal, but as the investigation continues, the flames are licking closer and closer to the former president.
And this week, once again, Lula had a police escort–but this time it was to the local police station where he was detained and questioned for three hours before being released.
While some die-hards are supporting him, the majority of posts on my Facebook feed range from seething outrage to open mocking. The man who was to be the paragon of virtue is, quite likely, just as corrupt as the rest.
And this should be instructive to my fellow Americans as they go to the polls. We all have our candidates and our political leanings. But putting your trust in them is a foolish proposition.
We elect a president. We worship the King. Always remember that. And the presidential candidate who wants to be king? Well…we need to run away from him (or her) as fast as our legs will carry us.
In that Brazilian restaurant back in 2002, the all people around us were cheering the image on the screen. All, that is, except for a rather morose-looking tucano (nickname for an adherent to one of the opposing political parties) who sat at his table and stared into his beer. As we were leaving, I heard him mutter “Well, either things will get better, or the country will go straight to Hell.” He and his fellows may be feeling vindicated at this moment, but if their ultimate hope is in some other human leader, they are bound to be disappointed once again.
There is only one Man who will ultimately set things straight, and he is not petista our tucano, Democrat or Republican.