The true defense of democracy

It is plain to see the fact that the world is going through a difficult time in many respects. From the ideal of the Rule of Law to Human Rights, the feeling is that more than obtaining progress, today efforts are concentrated on what we already had one day to maintain. The regressed, therefore, are more present and clear than the “dream” of a more harmonious and progressive 21st century.

This context also affects democracy not only as a concept, but also as a value. Groups that cannot exactly be categorized as essentially democratic dispute over the definition of that concept. The mere use of the word “democracy” or the adjective “democratic” can indicate another meaning when analyzed more closely, taking into account that in post-truth times there are various and constant attempts to shape the democratic ideal to serve others. fines that are not democracies at all.

At this point, denialism plays a fundamental role. James R. Schlesinger, an American economist and politician, said that we are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own version of events. Contrary to what one might think, a lie repeated many times does not become the truth.

It is there where one can also think about the role of ideologies with respect to the decline of democracy, since by disputing the concept, the value and democratic essence of politics is lost. Right and left come into direct conflict in an attempt to appropriate the quality of “democratic”, but they fail in the true defense of values ​​by not condemning the attacks on democracy that have been intensifying in the world.

The selectivity of branding these attacks as anti-democratic principles and based on ideological principles in politics has caused collateral effects that delegitimize political forces in the eyes of society, which is no longer believing in the democratic ideals they have promised (at some point in history). peace, equality and the development of peoples.

In addition, we see that basic human rights have been similar, ideologized and discussed, which has created situations, even somewhat contradictory, such as freedom of expression, demonstration and other freedoms. Liberalism, therefore, no longer seems to be well understood in this dubious context that confuses it for anything but what it really is. On the other hand, equality has also been the object of dubious interpretations that disqualify it as such, given that, after the supposed consolidation of a concept of material equality, nostalgic currents seem to emerge from its mere formality and have preached a world in which ” we are all equal”, when it is evident that it is not so.

In this debate, there is, in turn, the strategy of using mechanisms that are intended to be democratic for different fines, such as popular consultations legitimized solely by the procedure. In this case, the Parliaments that support the governments have the main function of monopolizing a discourse that claims to be democratic, but that does not pass a simple test of integrity. Electoral processes and referendums that culminate in the desired result before they are even over, keeping “things as they are” for an indeterminate period of time, have become more common than they are not.

However, it is worth mentioning that even in the use of democratic consultation mechanisms, when there is still room for manifestation by society, these moments have become opportunities for the expression of social discontent against power. The low participation rates, which in some cases do not even reach double digits, demonstrate the exposed fractures in a world in conflict.

And speaking of conflict, it is also necessary to refer to the case of violent electoral processes that do not end with the announcement of the results. In different contexts, it was found that we have lost the ability to accept defeat, making the elections practically endless and resorting to different tools to overcome or eliminate the political force that was the winner. Important control channels of power are misused to obtain a result other than the one at the polls, which creates a “third round” that is often offensive to democracy, but is not condemned by its political allies.

Democracy cannot be the convenience of friends or the mere ideological convergence of groups. It should not be exalted by exception, but should be the most trivial thing in our lives. Democratic practice must be nourished in the most varied social contexts, without being limited to formal institutional politics. The acceptance of democratic values ​​must guide the example of the authorities, even when they question their political relations.

Democracy must be defended even when we don’t like it. That is also why it must be defended. It is entirely possible to defend a concept of democracy that resists the attacks it has suffered in recent years. Democratic resilience shows us that not everything is lost even with this crisis, and that assuming conflict as the only form of participation can lead us to a path without turning back as a society.

It may seem utopian, but the defense of democracy makes possible the return of prosperous times for human rights in a troubled world. For this reason, we must be intransigent with democratic values, not be selective in their defense and not accept that selectivity of governments and authorities. We MUST really defend democracy, whoever it hurts. It may seem obvious what is preached in this text, but in times like these, the obvious must also be stated (and defended).

*Doctor in Legal and Political Sciences. General coordinator of the organization Transparencia Electoral Brasil.

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