In the last decade, totalitarian and anti-democratic discourses have become paradoxical pieces of politics in several countries and Brazil emerges as a contemporary example of this scenario.
By: Fernando Cafe
2022. Approximately one year and ten months after the attack on the Capitol in the United States, Brazil concluded its electoral process. Historically marked by its regional protagonism, the country enters such a period that's main focus is not directed towards the debate of ideas and the union of opposites for the construction of projects but in a scenario where individual freedoms and respect for the plurality of thoughts become synonymous with fear. The country is configured as a contemporary example of how democracies can be unstable through a lack of sound political education.
Image Credits: Eduardo Figueiredo / Midia NINJA / Flickr / Creative Commons
By July, 214 cases, according to the Observatório da Violência Política e Eleitoral/UniRio, of political violence occurred in the country, a growth of 335% in three years. Parallel to this context, only 5% of the population knows the Constitution, which makes many Brazilians unfamiliar with the role of the three powers in the election season. These facts demonstrate that a society that is unaware of its political structures and does not respect the free debate of ideas turns reality into something violent and bad for the country. Subsequently, it generates neglect in discussing issues important to the modern context, for example, hunger, which affects more than 33 million people today in the country. That is a reality Brazil faces, which ultimately attempts to disengage the electoral process and disrespect the popular will.
However, the solution to this problem was already debated and even proposed since the twentieth century, but without practical application in its entirety. Brazilian sociologist Florestan Fernandes said that "educated people would not accept the conditions of poverty and unemployment as we have." This phrase exemplifies the need for political education to defend, transform, and construct democracy based on knowledge and debate amid this scope.
Therefore, political education is a remedy for current conflicts because it provides citizens with an outlet that allows them to understand the political process and, from it, create their interpretation of the facts reached by the law. With this, different opinions are valid and necessary, and respect for them is the basis for highlighting the problems of the population.
Therefore, political education is the perfect solution to ensure respect for plurality and individual rights are protected in democracies.