Editorial: The Emperor's Costume

Jair Bolsonaro does not understand, nor will he ever understand the limits that the Republic imposes on his role as President. He governs with a mix of frivolity and authoritarianism.

Therefore, it is necessary to impose the democratic rule of law onto Bolsonaro, as if he were a child. Because he does not behave himself accordingly, the due behavior will have to be imposed on him --so the Republic must survive through a checks and balances system that has functioned until now in the young Brazilian democracy. 

Planalto Palace is not an extension of Bolsonaro's Barra de Tijuca house in Rio de Janeiro. And his neighbors in Brasilia's Três Poderes square don't make up his condominium. 

Jair Bolsonaro in event at Planalto Palace - Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

His pen is not almighty. It will not prevent his children from being investigated for blatantly treating the government as it were a private business. It also won't turn his son, who continually heralds the dictatorship, into the ambassador to the United States.

His pen also doesn't have the gift of conveying to citizens the whims of his will and primitive desires. The realm of senses does not preside over life in a democratic republic. 

When a constitution states that legality, impersonality, and morality rule over public administration, these are not words thrown into the wind during a social media "live."

The Brazilian Constitution is the equivalent to a general's order to his troops. Those who do not comply should be punished. Failing to comply is, for example, when one attempts to set aside a federal inspector who issued him an environmental fine. Another is to retaliate against the press through the use of executive orders. 

One more example is to use his role as President to officially discriminate against a press outlet, like Bolsonaro did when the Federal Government Services Purchase Sheet canceled all subscriptions of Folha last Thursday (28).

Likewise, advocating that advertisers boycott this newspaper, as Bolsonaro suggested on Friday (29), is a blatant abuse of political power.

The issue is not financial but of principle. The government plans to cancel dozens of subscriptions from a publication that has 327,959, according to the latest audited data.

About 5,000 companies advertise with Folha, and the newspaper will end in 2019 with almost all sectors of the economy represented on its platforms.

This newspaper is about to turn 100, and it must once again deal with a president who likes to dress up in the emperor's clothes. It will face this challenge with regret and optimism.

We regret how the Brazilian Republic's values have been undermined by this circumstantial occupant of the Presidency. But we remain optimistic that Brazil's future is greater than the figure that governs it at this moment. 


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