Nothing Less than Democracy, Ever

To maintain democracy, we must address the question of Brazil's government system

Editorial Opinion

The foundation of Brazil's young democracy is solid. A vast majority, 75%, today considers democracy the best form of government, a record since Datafolha began researching the topic in 1989.

It is solid, and yet it has suffered systematic attacks from extremists who identify with President Jair Bolsonaro. This is the biggest stress test since a civilian's return to the presidency 35 years ago.

Many do so in bad faith; others, for not having experienced the horrors of the cruel machine that came with the military dictatorship in 1964. This last group is part of the 54.2% of young people born after 1985.

Therefore, Folha launched an offensive on three fronts: advertising and a special journalistic campaign this Sunday (28th) and a free course for those interested in knowing the history. This is so it won't be repeated.

The initiative also serves to wake up those who have nostalgia for the dictatorship. Many of these people think there would be no corruption scandals, that public security would be great, and the economy miraculous with a dictatorship.

In real life, the executive power stifled institutions, free-thinking, and the right to express it. Torture was state policy, adversaries disappeared, disagreements were hidden by the gag on other Powers, and the economic growth of the 1970s ended in uncontrolled inflation and debt.

Censorship silenced the press, which, including Folha, initially supported the new regime, and this was wrong. This newspaper quickly found itself struggling with the new power system, losing the ability to react before even realizing it.

Only in the following decade did the newspaper find ways of waging a struggle, albeit veiled and subtle, against the dictatorship. In the 1980s, Folha led the Diretas Já movement in the press, establishing itself as an uncompromising defender of democracy and individual freedoms.

Men are not always virtuous; with this in mind, the reformers of the modern West built a system of autonomous and harmonic powers, which act as a brake on authoritarianism.

This is a system in which popular power is represented by free elections and is exercised within the parameters of the maximum law. The 1988 Constitution, not without its defects, had the great merit of bringing society together around this enlightenment consensus.

With it, the discussion about the best system of government seemed to be relegated to the background. The public agenda should be occupied with reducing inequality, increasing economic growth, and improving education.

However, there is an urgent need to return to the topic, and Folha seeks inspiration in its historical role in Diretas Já to rescue the yellow color as a symbol of democracy.

Thus, Folha's Sunday editions will have a yellow banner with the words #UseAmarelo pela Democracia (Use yellow for Democracy). A NEWSPAPER IN SERVICE OF BRAZIL, Folha's slogan since 1961, will be temporarily changed to A NEWSPAPER IN SERVICE OF DEMOCRACY until the next presidential elections.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon