by Miri AP Photo/Tiririca website, HO
A recent news story from south of the border caught my eye. Francisco Silva, a professional clown known by the stage name Tiririca, a candidate for “federal deputy” from Sao Paulo, has been accused by political opponents of not knowing how to read:
“Brazilians seem eager to put a clown in Congress, according to the polls. But the courts are taking a less jovial look at a new report that the comic doesn’t meet a legal requirement that lawmakers be able to read and write.
The Brazilian Constitution mandates that members of Congress must be literate, and prosecutors said Monday they want to force Tiririca — a name that means grumpy in colloquial Portuguese — to disprove the allegations. Otherwise, he could be tossed from office if he wins.
Tiririca, whose real name is Francisco Silva, has been this electoral season’s hit in Brazil, drawing millions of viewers on YouTube to his campaign ads. His slogans include, ‘It can’t get any worse,’ and ‘What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know. But vote for me and you’ll find out.‘
Polls show he is likely to win more votes for Brazil’s lower house than any other candidate, upward of 1 million ballots.”
So here we have an enormously popular candidate who doesn’t appear to meet the eligibility requirements of his country’s Constitution. Brazil, however, is taking this quite seriously, as is their media, who at least try to learn whether or not Silva is literate, instead of attacking his questioners for their obvious elitism and classism.
After all, shouldn’t his opponents have to prove that he can’t read, that he doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements of their Constitution, instead of the other way around? He signed a sworn statement attesting that he can read. His campaign manager has said that he can read. Isn’t that enough for these naysayers? Do I detect the stinky whiff of racism here? Brazilians are notorious for classifying people by skin tone within a despicable, although informal, caste system. I sarcastically digress . . .
The news article explains that Brazil’s courts will intervene and that Silva will be required to prove to a judge that he’s eligible under their Constitution, or else he’ll be tossed from office.
I’m thinking of another country, in this case a First World country, that has already placed a possibly Constitutionally ineligible “clown” into office. Unfortunately for that country, their media and courts seem willing, if not eager, to turn a blind eye to the situation, with its potentially dire consequences, as well as a deaf ear to the cries of the People who actually believe (perhaps foolishly) that their Constitution stands for something. Apparently, in that country, the rule of law is demode.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration of the irony.
NOTE: The above is a true story, NOT a spoof or parody.
UPDATE: 10/5/2010: The clown won! See this story:
“With 1.3 million ballots cast in his favour, a professional clown named Tiririca won more votes than any other candidate in Sunday’s elections. It’s the second-highest tally ever recorded in Brazil’s history. . . . In one of his commercials, he pleaded for voters’ blessings so that he could help the needy, ‘including my family.’ . . . A last-minute legal challenge failed to remove him from the ballot, but electoral authorities say he could still lose his congressional seat if his literacy is lacking.”
This story http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=7371 reports “Despite this, he may still be refused a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, which is what they call their Congress in Brazil. If Tiririca gets grumpy over this, the political party he ran under may be smiling at his expense. Under Brazil’s constitution, the Chamber of Deputies uses an ‘open list’ method of proportional representation based on the total votes received. So, because of the massive number of votes Tiririca won, the Party of the Republic (PR) may wind up getting to fill four seats in the Chamber with their other candidates should Tiririca be disqualified for being illiterate.”
Again, consider the irony: Tiririca was spoofing when he said that he wanted to help his needy family. Unlike our clown, who helps his family every chance he gets. Can you say, Auntie Zeituni? A last minute challenge wouldn’t remove him from the ballot, either. So now it’s up to their Congress to seat him, or not. If they play games, his party can use his win to install preferred others. I’m thinking of Hillary here and how she was shoved aside by her party in favor of another clown. Progressives, btw, want proportional representation schemes here in the US, too, as well as to do away with the Electoral College. Tiririca is a good argument against those ideas.