Monday, January 28, 2008

The KMT must transcend Blue vs. Green, the DPP must return to the Truth

The KMT must transcend Blue vs. Green, the DPP must return to the Truth
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
January 28, 2008

Those still counting on Blue and Green core support have been swept away by a tidal wave of public opinion. Chen Shui-bian maintains that Taiwan "has no centrist voters." But his political credentials have just been stamped "null and void" by these allegedly non-existent centrist voters.

Turning Taiwan into only two colors -- Blue and Green, then spinning everything of value as Green, has been the Democratic Progressive Party's most grievous sin against the people of Taiwan. It is an even more grievous sin than its poor political record.

This sort of political culture inquires only about one's political colors. It is indifferent to right and wrong. If it is not changed, it will inflict inestimable damage upon the Republic of China. Today the Blue Camp has an absolute majority in the legislature. If Ma Ying-jeou is elected president, the KMT will have the perfect opportunity to rid us of this endless Blue vs. Green standoff, to restore a "two-toned Taiwan" to its original rich hues. This is a duty the KMT must not shirk.

To make clear political distinctions is easy. But anyone who has had a taste of Taiwan's Blue vs. Green politics in recent years, knows this two-colored universe in which "either you are with us, or you are against us" is far from desirable. Reducing every issue to two colors, to two positions, treating every value as one held by either us or them, by either friend or foe, has turned Taiwan into a demoralized realm lacking in tolerance and creativity.

Over the past eight years, Taiwan has been mired in a standoff between the ruling and opposition political camps. All society has been affected, deprived of middle ground, deprived of the right to dissent, forced to take sides. It is said that people voted "for the Blues." It would be more accurate to say that people voted "against the Greens." They opposed the Green Regime's imposition of an exclusively Green ideology and value system upon Taiwan. The people demanded liberation from the shackles of ideology. They demanded a return to right and wrong, a return to reason. If the DPP still hopes to consolidate its Deep Green core support, it is turning a deaf ear to the cries of the people.

In recent years, the Democratic Progressive Party has been in the thrall of a terrible myth. It believed it had an exclusive franchise on "Taiwanese identity." It believed that as long it shouted "We love Taiwan!" it enjoyed carte blanche. Election victories were theirs for the taking. Make no mistake, their talisman could once work miracles. But the recent election showed that their talisman has lost its magic. The main reason is the DPP has never been able link its "Taiwanese identity" with anything concrete. Under the aegis of this grand concept, one finds ... exactly nothing. To the public "Nativism" is mere idolatry. It is nothing one can sink one's teeth into. And when peoples' survival is at stake, they begin wondering whether this idol has feet of clay.

How to manifest a "Taiwanese identity" in a way that is meaningful for the people is what the DPP must think about. Rampant "Nativism" has sanctified the DPP's image.

But politics is not religion. In the end politicians must pass muster on ability, professionalism, and character. An endless string of corruption scandals involving the presidential office and DPP legislators have taken the lustre off the Green Camp's nativist halo. If the DPP refuses to admit it has distorted the truth and polarized society, it had better prepare for the next round of voter punishments.

This election was a major victory for the Blue Camp. The public could no longer tolerate stagnation, bickering, and regression. Otherwise why would they overwhelmingly choose to punish the chief culprits, Chen Shui-bian and the Democratic Progressive Party? Many small parties were squeezed out of the picture. The electorate could no longer tolerate the Blue/Green stalemate. They felt a need to grant a clear majority to the Blue Camp, to reduce the oppressive Green Camp to a minority. Only then, they felt, cold Taiwan experience a rebirth of hope.

If the KMT understands the voters' disgust with this "War of the Colors" it won't gloat over its victory. It won merely because a large number of rational voters voted Blue in order to defeat the Greens. Once it is fully in authority, the KMT must assume responsibility for breaking the bipartisan deadlock. It must unmuzzle voices that have been silenced for the past eight years. It must allow a hundred flowers to bloom. It must create more room for rational debate. It must seized the opportunity to lead Taiwan out of the 2008 recession and advance toward peace and prosperity.

The victor must adopt a broader vision that transcends Blue and Green. The defeated must humbly return to the values of the people, to right and wrong. The Blue and Green camps must not misread public opinion.

2008.01.28 03:09 am












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