Graded & Dilma’s re-election

Brazil will once again have its executive power controlled by Brazil’s Workers Party (PT). Considering that only three presidents in Latin America have lost a reelection campaign in the last 30 years, Dilma’s victory seemed inevitable. However, Dilma celebrated her victory in a polarized country, where the most industrial states, such as São Paulo, chose to vote for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party candidate Aécio Neves.

Dilma’s speech after her reelection was a worthy one, in which she recognized the social divide and that she wanted to the country back together. Dilma was also optimistic about the future, stating that if there is one thing Brazilians now want, it is change, something she will be glad to provide. Although her speech left a lot of unanswered questions, I must admit, I believe in her.
Throughout the presidential election, Graded was filled with Neves campaign banners, and stickers and slogans were distributed by some student. Most students that expressed their political views in favor of Dilma were met with hostility. After the vote, some Graded students decided to dress in black to express their discontent with Dilma’s victory. The truth is, this gesture served to solidify the common conception that the upper class are the ones that voted for Neves; these students believed that Brazil was doomed without a right party leader. However, the irony is that simply giving up after Dilma’s reelection and saying “Brazil is dead and we are in mourning” contradicts their initial desire for change in Brazil.

In order to remain diplomatic in an open-minded school like Graded, it is necessary that the school not seem like it is favoring a specific candidate.

I posed the question to students at Graded: What do you think about Graded students wearing black when Dilma was reelected? Here are a few opinions:

Mendel Steinbruch (Grade 11): There is a certain pessimism with having a representative from PT in power for 12 years, and like a lot of Paulistas, most students wanted political reform. The black that some wore represented defeat and that the country would go another four years with no change in the the party in executive power. However, in my opinion, that is not true. There are still a lot of things that can be changed. The first step is to continue pursuing change, regardless of who is in power. We are privileged to have the education that most Brazilians do not have. We have to help Brazil.

Marina Cortes (Grade 11): I personally disagree with [wearing black after the election], but I respect everyone’s freedom of expression and think that everyone should be allowed to wear whatever they want. However, the problem begins when individual freedom crosses a line and interferes with someone else’s. There was no justification for the brutal number of insults against PT voters, and many of the insults were xenophobic and racist. Democracy is about respect, tolerance, and acceptance. I think the school should work on tolerance, since some cases of exclusion and casual bullying have been reported among the Graded students.

It is great to see so much passion towards politics coming from Graded, especially since Brazilians can vote from the age of 16. However, in order to remain diplomatic in an open-minded school like Graded, it is necessary that the school not seem like it is favoring a specific candidate, with the distribution of political propaganda. I urge students that supported Neves to not throw in the towel with Dilma’s reelection, not wear black to signal a defeat, but rather continue fighting for what they believe in—while demonstrating respect to other students who have a different points of view.