How Many States in Brazil?

By 09:55 , , , , ,

On Sunday night, as we were devouring pizza (with toppings such as chicken & catupiry cheese; "portuguesa" - onion, ham, cheese & egg; and calabrese sausage - mmmmm) at Paty's house with a bunch of people, Kyle and Denise, Paty's sister, were watching election results on TV.

City elections were held on Sunday (yes, I voted - yes, I had to - yes, voting is compulsory in Brazil - see "Living it Up is Compulsory"), and they were showing which capital city mayoral elections had gone on to the second round of voting. Now to digress for a minute, let me explain this second round - Brazil does not have a two party system. There are tonsss of parties, and all of them have candidates going into the first round of elections. In São Paulo, nobody won the majority vote since there were so many people up for it and 3 top candidates. Therefore, the top 2 candidates will go into the second round and whoever wins the majority will be our new (or incumbent) mayor! This happened in 8 other capital cities in Brazil.

Ok, now to the point I really wanted to get to in this post. While showing results nationwide, the news channel had a map of Brazil up and Kyle turns to me and asks, "How many states are there in Brazil?" and I reply, "27... I think." So I go into the kitchen and ask everyone the same question, and a few says, "Yeah, 27," and then there's a discussion on "Wait, no, it's 26 plus
Distrito Federal," which is Brasilia, the nation's capital. This turned out to be the consensus. But at one point in the quick debate, Beto says, "Why do I need to know this? What good will it do me to know how many states there are in Brazil?" to which nobody had a good answer...

... This has been running through my head for the past couple of days and I can't think of a good answer either. Why was I forced to learn to sing "Fifty-Nifty United States" in the 3rd grade? As someone with a degree in Global Studies (sort of), shouldn't I have a good explanation for knowing this sort of thing? I want to think of one.... but it won't come to me. Help?

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