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Thursday, August 12, 2010

On Women and Politics

The time to vote a new president in is fast approaching in Brazil (3rd October 2010) and parties here, there and everywhere are pulling themselves together and doing their bit to put forward the best names for the hopefuls and now candidates.

All of them now stumping widely.

Now, since we have written a lot about women on this blog, it would only be fitting if we commented about the fact we have two of them running for president of this vast country. Mind you, in a country as varied as a box of candies. And we all know, differences in education as vast as the Atlantic coast, if not bigger.

The two female choices are peculiarly controversial: one, Dilma Rousseff,  because she is getting that pat in the back from the current president who wants her to follow in his shoes and thereby continuing with his policies and, the other, Marina Silva  from the Green Party (Partido Verde), with an extensive resumé in ecological causes.

The former, hugely controversial for being economical with the truth and not even being clear about her academic credentials. Do you or do you not have a PhD? Have you or have you not met with this or that person? If you can “gloss over” this data, what to make of larger issues?

The latter, in particular, because she is part of an ever increasing religious trend, pervasive in all Latin America, called Evangelical Protestantism. A challenge, really, to the long-standing Catholic hegemony. Obviously, this phenomenon prevalent amongst the more vulnerable in society is, we know, encouraging a political culture. Question: Will they be authoritarian and repressive, or will they bring about more democracy? We, Westerners, are terrified of religious fundamentalism.

Whoever we finally decide to vote for, let us make sure we vote conscientiously and not just drop someone into office as we so often do and then live to regret it. How do we do it? Let us try to go past the slick advertising campaigns and the usual Brazilian (“jeitinho brasileiro”) way of doing things by perhaps donating our priceless vote to that candidate who has helped us with our private agendas. Let us, if we can, vote in people with character, awareness and with subtle qualities of a bigger heart which will benefit ALL Brazilians.

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