Last week, Brazil elected a new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has been called the Brazilian Trump.
Like Trump, Bolsonaro was dismissed as a fascist fringe candidate with no real chance of getting elected when he first declared his candidacy. During his 30-year career in politics, he has praised Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship and advocated the use of torture and murder against dissidents. He advocates loosening gun controls as the answer to Brazil's shockingly high murder rate (175 per day in 2017).
At issue in my cartoon this week is a 2011 interview Bolsonaro gave to Playboy magazine in which he said,
“I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son. I won’t be a hypocrite: I prefer a son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy. He’d be dead to me anyway.”On an appearance with Bolsonaro on Brazilian television, Preta Gil, daughter of Gilberto Gil, asked Bolsonaro how he'd feel if one of his sons fell in love with a black woman, and he snapped that "my sons were brought up very well and they haven't lived in environments such as is, unfortunately, yours." He later claimed that he had misheard the question as having suggested that his son fall in love with a black man.
Bolsonaro's election has to be seen as part of a trend favoring fascists here in the U.S. as well as in the Philippines, Italy, Hungary and Poland. In Bolsonaro's case, he benefited from public weariness with corruption allegations against the previous administration, coupled with the hangover that has followed the sugar rush of some phenomenal economic growth in the first half of this decade.
But as experience has shown throughout history, fascists may make the trains run on time, but there is absolutely nothing mutually exclusive about fascism and corruption.