World history is littered with examples of mass demonstrations for or against populist leaders. However, we rarely find such movements when the subject is, let’s say, impersonal or collective in nature.
The United States of America, for example, was caught up in a bloody civil war, not necessarily over slavery, but in defense of a ‘greater good’, democracy itself. Please note the quotes!
Still, the Civil War was only made possible by the popular – and, yes, populist (in this case, positive) leadership of Abraham Lincoln. Hundreds of thousands went to fight – and to the death – in the name of their leader; of a leadership that moved them.
Unfortunately, humanity does not live only from ‘good leaders’. On the contrary! They are the minority. Cruel tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Castro, Mussolini, Mao, Chávez and Maduro plague the bloody pages of history.
On the other hand, contrary examples are rare, such as Lincoln himself, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Luther King, Churchill, Theodor Herzl… Christ! Promoting good is more work, as it requires noble feelings and resilience.
Yes. It is easier to gather thousands or millions, willing to kill and put an end to the ‘evils’ of the world, than to respect, dialogue, teach, convince, finally, in the field of debate and respect, equally ‘end’ these ‘ evils’.
Populism has always plagued humanity. I’ve already listed examples above and it would be unnecessary to name others like Jair Bolsonaro, Donald Trump, Orbán or frills from the extreme right today – already naming them, hehe.
In all societies, or most of them, dissatisfied people are the vast majority. It’s unfortunate, I know, but we rarely find a country where social inequality is not outrageous and, as a rule, historic.
This favors the narrative of messianic populists who, taking advantage of the hatred and hopelessness of the population, tired for years, if not centuries, of, say, social segregation, allow themselves to be seduced by the easy speech of rancor.
The atavistic nature of the human being is nothing to be despised either. Feelings of the purest wildness remain hidden, waiting only for a sign of ‘survival instinct’, to wake up fierce and violent.
Furthermore, as many modern philosophers and historians teach, the average human is not very fond of complexities, and instead worships, and embraces, beliefs with extreme faith and ease. No wonder the popularity of religions.
This mixture, therefore, becomes explosive in the context of this article, as populist leaders, intuitively or premeditatedly, take advantage of favorable conditions and make their speeches easily adhered to and supported by so many.
IDEALS ARE BORING
The ideological struggle sucks! Environmentalists, socialists, capitalists, earth planners can and should group themselves around their beliefs and yours. However, from the bubble itself, expanding the ’cause’ is very difficult.
Divulging ideals is a task for few. It requires wisdom, good rhetoric, charisma, a lot of discipline and unusual resilience. It is even more difficult, after winning minds and hearts, to keep them attentive and faithful for a long time.
A large part of human need is formed from the absence of affection. Once the emotional emptiness is satisfied, the line moves. Feeling part of something (group, cause, etc.) fills the gap of helplessness, but it is fleeting.
For all these reasons, the ‘public failure’ of the demonstrations against Bolsopetismo and the frustrated attempt at a military coup by Jair Bolsonaro, the Planalto’s executioner, is not surprising. Causes are rarely bigger than characters.
Lula da Silva, the miscreant from São Bernardo, draws crowds as a character. The same goes for Queiroz’s friend. When they summon devotees, they hit the target of helplessness, as explained well above.
People are lacking in figures, generally paternal and maternal. Democracy or, I don’t know, saving the Amazon, doesn’t fill anyone’s existential void. If on Sunday’s demonstration there was a leader (popular!), the story would be different.
What was even clearer and more evident after these two acts – one pro-fascism and the other pro-democracy – is that, without a popular (and perhaps populist) name, such a third way will never leave the sphere of hope and dream of 1/3 of the electorate.
Lula will have no less than his captives 25% to 30% of votes. Bolsonaro will have no less than his, still faithful, 15% to 20% of voters. The other third needs to find a name that makes the neither-nor converge: neither Bolsonaro nor Lula.
Apparently, this name does not exist. Do I live? Perhaps. All the more constant, in 2022, I will have nothing but reason to cry. Or I’ll be harassed by a gang leader or a nasty scammer, even if every week they make a new demonstration. Without leadership (with name, surname, face and voice), it’s gone.
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