Having won 50.9% of the vote, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been declared the winner of Brazil’s presidential election. With the threat of legal action hanging over Jair Bolsonaro and members of his family, Bolsonaro had stated that he “will never be imprisoned.” He’s been claiming voter fraud for years, and the nation has become split pretty much down the middle.
President Trump endorsed Bolsonaro, calling him “one of the great people in all of the politics and in all of leadership in all of countries.” Echoing President Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen, Bolsonaro was one of the last world leaders to recognize President Biden’s victory.
The military is denying that any effort will be made to overturn the results of this election; and far-right pundits are calling Lula an ex-convict and corrupt, but haven’t claimed the election was rigged. Bolsonaro has declared that he would transfer power, but not concede the election.
As president of Brazil from 2003-2011, Lula, now 77, supported programs to end hunger, support workers and protect the rain forests. Malnutrition fell from 14% to 7% during his first term, and poverty was cut in half during his eight years in office. In 2017 he was convicted of money-laundering and corruption by judge Sergio Moro, who became Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and Public Security. Citing procedural errors, Brazil’s Supreme Court annulled the case and ruled in 2018 that Lula was falsely imprisoned.
Our own Supreme Court has granted a temporary stay blocking Trump’s tax returns from being delivered to the House Committee investigating January 6, and preemptory lawsuits have been filed challenging the results of our November 8 election. In a democracy, these efforts do take time.
We are fortunate to live in Talbot County. It became clear at a recent county council candidate forum that preserving our rural atmosphere is a shared goal, but it was difficult to connect elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorous with the caveat that “half a million dollars” had been spent on CRT (Critical Race Theory).
That amount would become $509,000 at a second forum, but still no details. In response to a letter weeks later, candidate Dave Stepp explained that not enough time had been provided at the forums to elaborate. He informed us that $509,758.97 had been paid to Pacific Education Group, a company that ”trains organizations on critical race theory.”
Receipts for these services had been provided upon request. Over the past 9 years Talbot County teachers and staff members have participated in seminars addressing systemic issues affecting students of color, including challenges presented by language barriers.
Having shared concerns regarding “woke agendas” promoting “current fads about gender and sexual activity” in our schools, candidate David Montgomery provided a link to a site No, Social and Emotional Learning Is Not a “Trojan Horse” for CRT | American Enterprise Institute – AEI suggesting “gay and lesbian activists are being used as cover for advancing extreme left-wing ideologies and turning children into shock troops for gender revolution.” An additional suggestion that “it’s a mistake to portray SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) as CRT in disguise” could be helpful.
In response to concerns regarding environmental issues, we were directed to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/energy-and-the-etlook-for-future-emissions.pnvironment/ouhp Based upon current data and forecasts, the EIA is predicting that CO2 emissions generated by fossil fuels will decline only slightly in OECD nations by 2050; and, more importantly, without changing course will increase worldwide.
Mr. Montgomery has concluded that we would be “wasting money on actions that will only slow it (climate change) by a few years, at most,” and that such efforts would likely “cause economic harm far greater than any future benefit.” The EIA is also suggesting that Net Zero carbon emissions are possible by 2050, but only with significant levels of investment in electric vehicles, clean energy infrastructure, energy efficient buildings, and carbon storage measures. Are we up to the challenge?
Bhutan became Net Zero in 2021. Iceland has pledged 2040, and Sweden and Denmark have made the most progress. Reaching Net Zero will be challenging; but when 4% of the world’s population is contributing 14% of the world’s fossil fuel emissions, any move in a positive direction pays outsized dividends.
And with 600 miles of shoreline, addressing nitrogen and phosphorous levels in our Bay could make our lives more bearable in the meantime.
“President Biden commended the strength of Brazilian democratic institutions following free, fair and credible elections,” according to a White House statement. “The two leaders discussed the strong relationship between the United States and Brazil and committed to continue working as partners to address common challenges, including combating climate change, safeguarding food security, promoting inclusion and democracy, and managing regional migration.”
These are challenging times, and democracy is hard work; but it has proven to be worthwhile.