Something is about to rumble, for the police blockade the streets and point cars to turn right down the side streets, much to everyone’s confusion since the way ahead seems clear, direct, and much more appealing than the sinewy detour.
But, there’s unease, the rapid preparation for something sweeping and important, and then, we see it–
The demonstration, hundreds strong, banner stretched with the charges of corrupção and terrorismo brandished bold and big, clear in every language, Vendetta masks and clown noses unforgiving in their accusations against the presumably guilty.
It sends goosebumps up and down our spines, throat constricted with emotion at seeing such a mass of people take to the streets and practice freedom of speech, aided by the police to make way for their voices to be heard up and down São Paulo’s main artery, Paulista.
Despite living in a country that considers itself the pinnacle of democracy, it feels like there is actually little room and place for dissenting opinions, for the practice of a representative government with engaged citizenry. Taking to the streets in the US is out of vogue, a disruption in our work week, of the status quo, no longer the platform for grievances and demands upon our elected officials.
On the contrary, protesting almost equates delinquency, non-work, non-contribution, for only the unemployed and ragamuffins have the time and energy to practice their constitutional rights, a frequent retort given to the Occupy Wall Street protesters, a total fallacy, for we, gainfully employed, march and sit with them along with hundreds of Denverites and Boulderites, sympathetic to the underlying frustration that something’s broke and we gots to face the fact that our middle class shrinks downslope at a frightening pace.
So, here, it’s like a flashback, only, it seems, with so much more support as cars stop and honk and applaud, drivers and passengers exiting their vehicles to salute the marchers, themselves peaceful and strong and unified. Turns out a lot of people are less than thrilled about a congressman’s recent secret appointment to an important post despite charges of corruption, a crime the Brazilians describe as terrorism against the people.
We pause to take it in, eyes brimming in camaraderie and shared idealism that awareness might translate to a better tomorrow for us all.