Months ago, before Marina Silva decided to leave the Workers Party (PT) and become a candidate for President of the Republic, she told me that she felt a “calling from Brazil.” At that time she certainly never imagined that her campaign – she received 20 million votes – would have such a great impact on the race and would cause Dilma Rouseff and José Serra, the two candidates headed for the second round of voting, to look to her in hopes of her endorsement.
Instead of “hoping for Marina’s endorsement,” each candidate should observe “the hope of Marina.” They should understand what her hopes are in these days after the first round of voting.
While the candidates have hopes for what Marina will say, she should be hoping for what they will propose.
She should be watching which of the two candidates would permit her to make a legitimate choice in the eyes of her voters. If she chooses to remain neutral, she should be wondering how to justify this position to all the voters of Brazil.
While Marina may have a personal liking for one or the other of the candidates, at this point, she has, above all, a commitment to her proposals, her message, and her voters. Her support should form part of the calling that Brazil made to her.
Almost 50% of the voters chose Dilma to continue what has been done in the “Lula Years,” but the 20% who voted for Marina said that they desired changes. By giving the majority to Dilma, the voters said that they wanted continuity. By denying her a first-round victory, however, they said that they were not voting for simple continuity, that they wanted changes.
Either they did not see the proposals that they desired in the other programs, or they saw these proposals but did not believe that they would be brought to fruition.
Some of the voters want to adjust the productive model to take environmental equilibrium into account and guarantee sustainability. They want to assure healthcare and high-quality education to all. They want to change the practice of politics to incorporate ethics, sincerity and a new rationality that is less a prisoner of the state or of the private sector and more committed to the public, less limited to the next election and more committed to the next generations. Another portion of Marina’s voters desires to rescue moral values and not accept innovations that surpass certain limits.
Marina’s voters will be won over through the adoption and clear presentation of what the candidate, if elected, will do to protect Brazilian nature from the depredation caused by economic growth. The candidate must declare to what sources of energy he or she will give priority, how to stimulate the economy and improve transportation without increasing the production of private vehicles.
He or she must state what measures will used to replace the GDP as the indicator of progress. The candidate must indicate which projects of law he or she will send to the Congress to enact the desired reforms eliminating the current practice of corruption in public activity and how to democratize the electoral process to avoid campaign finance dependency upon economic power.
He or she must explain how to radicalize the commitment to making Brazilian education among the best in the world, assuring equal access for each Brazilian from his or her early years, independent of family income or the city where the child lives. The candidate must set forth proposals to assure running water, sewers, garbage collection, preventive healthcare and medical services of the same quality for each person.
At the same time, the candidate must commit him or herself to not forcing changes in the customs and ethical values beyond the population’s capacity of acceptance, respecting the rights of each minority, without offending sentiments of the majority.
Marina is hoping that one of the candidates will adopt her proposals, hoping for the certainty that this adoption will be the fruit of either conviction or conversion and not a marketing gesture.
Marina is hoping for all this, as are those who voted for her.
I believe that Dilma Rouseff, due to her history, her speeches and proposals, is closer to the desires of Marina’s voters. Marina, however, is still hoping that Lula’s former cabinet chief will explain the measures that will make her program approximate what the senator herself presented during her campaign to answer the “calling from Brazil.”
Cristovam Buarque is a professor at the University of Brasília and a PDT senator for the Federal District. You can visit his website at www.cristovam.org.br/portal2/, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SEN_CRISTOVAM and write to him at email@example.com.
New translations of his works of fiction The Subterranean Gods and Astricia are now available on Amazon.com.
Translated from the Portuguese by Linda Jerome (LinJerome@cs.com).