Those unhappy with the outcome of the midterm elections here in the U.S. might do well to take a moment to contemplate Brazil, where not only was an actual clown elected to Congress, but that same clown is being quizzed to determine if he can read and write.
Tiririca, or “Grumpy,” the Clown catapulted into the office of federal deputy for Sao Paolo with 1.35 million votes, more than any of the other 6,000 candidates from 27 parties running in Brazil’s congressional elections last month. A minor television celebrity in Brazil who got his start as a circus clown, Tiririca (actually Francisco Oliveira Silva), campaigned on slogans like: “What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don’t know. But vote for me and I will find out for you.”
Brazilians may never get to know, however, if Silva is able to juggle the many demands of office because officials say that, like 10% of Brazil’s population, he is illiterate. Handwriting discrepancies on Silva’s election application raised some eyebrows, and a judge ordered the congressman-elect to prove himself on paper. According to the Associated Press, Silva took an exam today. Should he fail, there is no word yet on who would fill his really big shoes.
As you anxiously await the results, please enjoy this campaign video. It’s in Portuguese, but the Washington Post provides a helpful translation here.