Giving up on politics would be like giving the corrupts a carte blanche to rule our country whichever way applies best to their private interests.

As the previous year passes and a brand new one comes, renewed feelings of hope and a motivation for justice and for the end of corruption start to arise within ourselves one more time. These feelings are not unknown to us but are simply put aside as other things take their course each year. 2017 was particularly rough for Brazilian society, which is still bearing the wounds of an economic recession and a political crisis.

What is meant by things taking their course could be summed up in one word: impunity. It is undeniable that 2017 was a year of significant change in the panorama of corruption: it demonstrated that the big fishes are not always untouchable and that the Car Wash Operation has yet a long way to go.

However, 2017 also counted on the retaliation of the powerful old politicians, who resist in making room for the new politics in which the guilty ones find it much harder to get away, and put into use all that is left of their old practices of influence and impunity to try to stop the changes against corruption from progressing. To make it clear, let’s recap the following controversial events.

Business as usual: some thoughts on controversial situations

President Michel Temer has been allowed to end his term free from investigations even after being accused twice by the Attorney General for the crime of passive corruption in the Car Wash Operation, and in a second complaint for the crimes of obstruction of justice and criminal organization.

For being president, Temer can only be judged by the STF (Federal Supreme Court) under authorization of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the national Congress.

Temer has been able twice to stop investigations on him by using political tools to get deputies voting in favor of closing the complaints on him, bringing to light how rotten our whole political body is. In the first complaint, the president got 263 deputies voting in his favor against 227; in the second, 251 voted in his favor against 233. It is important to highlight that those same deputies impeached the previous president Dilma Rousseff for crimes much less serious than those Temer is now being accused of. Now rises the question: what does it indicate when you put all your strength into stopping justice from simply investigating on you other than that you’ve got something to hide?

Another controversial event that strongly marked 2017 negatively and whose tendency is to enter the new year just the same way, is the 2018 presidential elections. First of all, there’s the problem of the crisis of representation already discussed in a previous article you can check here. Besides, what the pools have been revealing up to now is that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, best known as Lula, is leading the run.

Is it not very ironic that the most probable figure to be again, after two terms, the country’s political leadership has been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison after being found guilty of corruption and money-laundering charges? Lula is just not yet in prison because sentences in Brazil can only be served after decisions from the Court of Appeal, and the judge who convicted Lula is a first instance one. And that is also the reason why Lula is not yet out of the running.

Why politics should not discourage society

After accompanying all the corruption scams all throughout the years being repeated, again and again, a general feeling of uneasiness arises among the population, who often find themselves put aside and forgotten in the game of  “the big ones”. There’s no more strength left to keep believing and waiting for a better tomorrow.

However, giving up on politics would be like giving the corrupts a carte blanche to rule our country whichever way applies best to their private interests in economics, health, education and society as a whole. And there are generally two ways to give up on politics: either by avoiding it or by voting unconsciously.

Avoiding politics can be through like refusing to discuss it, to read about it, to propose ideas for a better neighborhood, city, state, and nation. The word “idiot” in its root derives from the Greek idiotes, meaning then, in the Athenian democracy, a private individual, that is, whoever turns away from the public life. We the people are direct doers of the political process.

From that comes voting unconsciously. Our vote is a precious tool, for it is the means through which citizenship can be expressed in its purest form. However, when misused by the people, it may lose all the significance that comes from it.

Before giving a politician the privilege of your vote, reflect, ponder on the candidate’s proposals, be rational, search for his past, his party, his acts, his bills. In the era of information, it is almost impossible not to find material, and those who go to vote without the least knowledge of his candidate is either too neglectful or too ignorant.

Thus, it is not politics itself which has the power to discourage ourselves, but rather the corrupt politicians and their vicious tools to obtain impunity and the persistence of their deeds. However, by discussing politics and voting with awareness, we start climbing steps, even though small, towards a change in the system as a whole, finally contributing somehow to a better tomorrow.

Luiz Felipe Moraes is an Editor for Brazil in the Naked Opinion section of The Pavlovic Today. He is a Yale Young Global Scholar 2016. His interests revolve around International Relations, humanities,...

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