In July, after wandering through warehouses, a 1.50 meter image of the Crucified arrived at Planalto in the arms of an employee who placed it on a table. Lula approached and, addressing the play, said:
“I’m back, now you’re going back. Together, we’re going to change this country.” (The video is online.)
It would have been a prayer out loud.
Days earlier, in a poorly formulated sentence, he said while in Cape Verde that “we have deep gratitude to the African continent for everything that was produced during 350 years of slavery in our country”.
The president’s personal advisor advised him to take better care of his improvisations. Somehow, the recommendation worked and he started reading his speeches. It took two months and he ran her over.
The last was his attack on the International Tribunal in The Hague:
“I want to study the issue of this International Criminal Court a lot. Especially because the United States is not a signatory, Russia is not a signatory. I want to know why Brazil is a signatory to something that the United States does not accept.”
Brazil joined the Hague court during the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The United States did not join because it would not occur to an American that an international court would condemn one of its citizens. (The United States helped create the Nuremberg tribunal after World War II to hang part of Nazi Germany’s political and military elite.)
Since then, PT governments have honored the Hague court. Jair Bolsonaro was denounced twice, for his conduct during the pandemic and for his treatment of the Yanomami.
Explaining himself, Lula said that he “didn’t even know about the existence of this court.” Come on, no one is forced to know everything.
More robust, however, was his defense of secret votes in the Federal Supreme Court trials. Not only for the proposal itself, but also for the way he presented it, in two sentences:
“This country needs to learn to respect institutions.” “Society does not have to know how a Supreme Court minister votes.”
This country respects institutions and that is why Lula is in Planalto. Furthermore, this country gave him the mandate of president of the Republic, not that of beadle.
Secret voting in collegiate courts is a thing for totalitarian governments. When defending this strange idea, Lula had the luxury of giving an example:
“The majority voted 5 to 4, 6 to 4, 3 to 2. No one needs to know.” As he likes football, he could try this mechanism with his Corinthians. Like players, judges are evaluated on their performances.
One of the touchstones of American jurisprudence for free speech came from Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in 1919. The score? 7×2. The two votes that remained in the minority were that of Holmes, whose text is still cited today, and that of his colleague Louis Brandeis.
According to jurisconsult Lula’s criteria, American society would not have to know how the Supreme Court judges voted and Holmes’ text would have gone to waste, damaging the law and the English language.
Brandeis had already taught: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
For Lula, there is some advice from American president Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), famous for not opening his mouth:
“I was never harmed by what I didn’t say.”
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