The government has become too big, inefficient, costly and corrupt. Citizens are oppressed and punished by heavy-handed government officials. Promises made by the government have not been kept. Taxes increase, but services diminish. The health care system is broken. Scandals arise daily, revealing government corruption in every corner. The voters elected the nation’s first ____ president without proper vetting, and now regret it. A land of astonishing natural resources and industrious people languishes in economic misery.
No, it’s not the United States. It’s Brazil.
This week, frustrated Brazilians took to the streets. What was the “one more drop” (Brazilian version of the straw that broke the camel’s back) that pushed citizens over the edge, uniting rich, poor and middle-classes in protest in the face of violent police pushback? It was a twenty-cent increase in bus fare. One more little spit in the public’s eye by a government class that has taken its power and control for granted.
It wasn’t only the relentless increases in taxes and fees. It wasn’t just the massive spending on lavish sports facilities while hospitals and roads crumble. Or the ubiquitous “palm-greasing” for political favors. It was all the above, and finally “one more drop.”
One protester quoted in The Independent (UK) summed it up: “Our parents fought against the dictatorship, but then we went to sleep,” he admitted. After an extended period of improving economic conditions and expanding personal freedoms and opportunities, Brazil’s government got too big for its britches. “Now, finally, we’re waking up.”
Fortunately Brazil enjoys an aggressive and free press, who relish in pointing out the failures of their government. Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, a Marxist who battled the country’s ruling military junta before being catapulted to its highest elected office, now sees her popularity rating tumble. After a prolonged silence, she has announced her intention to pursue reforms.
It seems the disrespect Brazil’s government shows its citizens is not so different from our own. But our only resistance to date has been a small but persistent Tea Party, which is vilified by those who refuse to wake up. In Brazil, the people are “taking it to the streets.” Could it happen here?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Are you…telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ it to the streets
Takin’ It To The Streets – Michael McDonald