The next election as a plebiscite: biophilia (love for life) versus necrophilia (love for death )

                                    Leonardo Boff

At Easter Mass, one of the most beautiful hymns of the Gregorian is sung in which it is said: “death and life, looking at each other, fought a duel” (mors et vita duello conflixere mirando). And it concludes: “the lord of life, reigns alive” (dux vitae, regnat vivus).

I refer to this liturgical text as a metaphor of what I see taking place in the next elections: a plebiscite in which a political duel is effectively fought between two projects for Brazil and two models of President. I don’t want to say it, but one of the most brilliant legal intelligences in our country, ex-governor of Rio Grande do Sul, ex-minister of justice, Tarso Genro, affirms it:

“For Jair Bolsonaro there are no opponents, there are only enemies to be slaughtered by weapons. As a politician who defends the execution of suspects, the shooting of “30,000 compatriots”, the assassination of a peaceful and democratic president, torture as an inquisitorial method, the end of political democracy, who maintains that the dictatorship’s mistake was not to torture , but it was “not to kill”, which publicly expresses its admiration for Hitler and mocks the torture suffered by a worthy woman – who was being removed from the Presidency –, as this politician was cowardly naturalized by the neoliberal “establishment” and by the large chains of communication, after having committed and repeated many barbaric crimes and still having made a conscious genocidal propaganda against vaccination?”

Here it is clear a project of death that, if Bolsonaro is reelected, will implement it. It is the domain of necrophilia, the promotion of death and its derivatives such as hatred and lies.

On the other side of the duel, there is another representative, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva. I don’t want to be a manicist who only considers the good on one side and the bad on the other. Good and evil mix. But it must be recognized that in Lula the good gains more expression. It presents a project whose centrality lies in life, starting with those who have the least life: the 30 million hungry, the 110 million with food insufficiency, the millions of unemployed or underemployed, workers and retirees who have seen their rights diminish. the frozen minimum wage.

To summarize, the first thing to do is to guarantee the minimum: food, health, work, education, housing, land to produce food for the people, security and opportunity for those who are historically the descendants of the slave quarters (54% of the population) to be able to enter higher, university or technical education.

To govern is to take care of everyone, but always starting from the humiliated and offended. The inspiration comes from Gandhi who said: doing politics is having a loving gesture towards the people and taking care of common goods. Or in the words of Pope Francis in his Fratelli tutti: politics has to be done with tenderness “which is love if it makes close and concrete, a movement that comes from the heart and reaches the eyes, ears and hands”(n.196). It is the realm of biophilia, of love for life.

These two projects, like a duel, are facing each other in this election. It is up to the citizens to make their discernment: finally which country do we want? Which President is the most bearer of life, means of livelihood, hope and a taste for living? We are not stones that just exist. We don’t just want to exist, we want to live and live in peace with each other.

What we have experienced in the government of the current President was the downgrading of our humanity, the abandonment of thousands surrendered to the virulence of Covid-19 and who died when they could have been saved if it were not for the tenacious official denialism.

What hurts and embarrasses us the most is the lack of composure of the highest authority in the nation, who should live the virtues that he would like to see carried out in the people, such as solidarity, care for one another and for our natural wealth and the promotion of of our science and culture, attacked by him in a vexing way. On the contrary, the spread of hate, fake news, stupidity, profanity and all kinds of discrimination against Afro-descendants, indigenous peoples, quilombolas, women, the poor and LGBT+ among others predominated.

We will only be able to overcome this political-social and necrophilic scourge if, in the duel, we opt for the biophilia project. Here I still use the ex-governor Tarso Genro: “A week before the election, a great political agreement on governance and governability must be made, defeating Jair Bolsonaro in the first round, united around the strongest name to win and lead the nation to the democratic and social destiny that our people deserve”.

That name is emerging as a voter favourite, Lula da Silva. He is a survivor of the great national tribulation, he showed that he was able to humanize politics, taking Brazil off the hunger map and creating social and popular policies that created opportunities for the excluded, for many others and, above all, restored dignity to the impoverished.

The fate of our nation is in our hands. It depends on the option for what takes Brazil out of the ditch into which it was thrown and allows us to reduce the harmful social inequality and, finally, grant us the joyful celebration of life. The next duel election on October 2nd will mean the great test: which Brazil and which President we really want. May the project of biophilia, of love of life, triumph, especially that suffered by the great majority.

Leonardo Boff is a theologian, philosopher and writer and published: Brazil: concluding the refoundation or prolonging dependency, Vozes 2018.

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