Monday, August 23, 2010

The DPP: Still Leading Taiwan with a Broken Compass

The DPP: Still Leading Taiwan with a Broken CompassUnited Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
August 23, 2010

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is about to announce its Platform for the Coming Decade, which will lay out its proposal for Taiwan's future during the next ten years. The platform contains an article on "ethnic diversity," (or more accurately, "community diversity"). But judging by its recently released draft version, the DPP remains deeply confused about its vision for Taiwan. If even the DPP itself does not know where it stands, how can it talk about where it intends to lead Taiwan?

In its article on "ethnic diversity," the DPP mentions "Hoklo Chauvinism." But it adopted a holier than thou attitude and "magnanimously forgave" Mainlanders for their "Original Sin." It concluded that "post-war immigrants from Mainland China should not be regarded as "foreigners" or "others." But what is this "I hereby pardon you" tone, other than the embodiment of Hoklo Chauvinism?

Cross-Strait exchanges have led to an influx of Mainland spouses, Mainland students, and Mainland tourists. Yet the DPP was deeply resistant to making this concession toward "post-war Mainland immigrants" who have been on Taiwan for over six decades. Clearly the DPP's problem is not the public's inability to show tolerance toward each other, but rather the DPP's own "Sinophobia."

This circumstance reveals how out of touch the DPP is with the public on Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party is presenting a Platform for the Coming Decade because it hopes to revive its shrinking public approval ratings by offering more "exalted" political appeals. But judging by its article on "ethnic diversity." the DPP thinks it can diagnose Taiwan's ills from on high. In fact the real problem is that the DPP is unable to make up its mind about what Taiwan's status ought to be. Its attempts to address the defects in its arguments merely show how many holes they contain.

The DPP has gradually lost touch with the public on Taiwan, for three reasons. One. It remains mired in nostalgia. It persists in polishing its halo as "democratic reformer." It is unwilling to earnestly address the failure of its administration and the defects in its political path. The fact is, eight years in power dramatically altered the public's perception of the DPP. It is digusted by Chen Shui-bian's corruption. It has also come to the conclusion that the Green Camp's political path will only make Taiwan wither on the vine. These are incontrovertible facts. But the DPP has remained silent. It has chosen to engage in self-deception. Meanwhile, the more successfully it appeases its Deep Green core supporters, the more it alienates the general public.

Two. The DPP is much too opportunistic. Its political calculations often ensure short term victory. But in the long term they merely expose the DPP's self-contradictory and disingenuous behavior. Frequent changes in political platform merely expose the DPP's "relativistic" tap-dancing, and the absence of any sustainable strategic framework. Eight years in power have revealed a gaping chasm between DPP rhetoric and DPP reality. The DPP is now rushing to weave a master narrative by which it can lead Taiwan. But lo and behold, it never bothered to ask the public what it really wants.

Three. The DPP has long "used the system to overthrow the system." It has long used the "recitification of names," public referenda, and the authoring of a new constitution to bolster itself. It has attempted to eat away the nation and society from within. It has induced the public to doubt its national identity and national loyalty. The DPP's loyalty is to a "future Nation of Taiwan." Its real purpose is to destroy the Republic of China. Why should voters allow imposters to rule the nation by using the Republic of China as a "backdoor listing?" When and where will their fictitious Nation of Taiwan come into existence? These are questions the DPP must answer in its Platform for the Coming Decade.

But judging by what it has done so far, the DPP's Platform for the Coming Decade has simply evaded the issue of national identity and constitutional structure. Instead, it begins by addressing "foreign relations," democracy, human rights, economics, and environmentalism. This is flagrant evasion. The DPP must first clarify its stand on national identity. Does it still advocate Taiwan independence and nation-building? Is it willing to reaffirm the Republic of China Constitution? Does it still advocate the rectification of names and the authoring of a new constitution? If so, then its platform will be nothing more than a UFO without navigation coordinates. If the DPP uses a broken compass to navigate, even it will have no idea where it is headed, How can it lead us in a new direction?

Every political party must find an appropriate niche within a society. It cannot arrogate to itself the leadership of "us," while stigmatizing others as "them." But that is precisely what the DPP did with its article on "ethnic diversity." It zeroed in on "ethnicity," while making no mention of the poor and underprivileged. It lacked even the literary eloquence it had a few years ago. Its resolution on "ethnic diversity and social unity" showed signs of inexorable generational decline. The DPP had better pay attention to these warning signs. If the DPP has the courage to look ten years into the future, it ought to have the wisdom to update its navigation devices. It should not attempt to take to the road with a broken compass.

2010.08.23 12:06 pm










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