Green Camp Occupies the Legislature:
But Where Would It Take Us?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 15, 2012
Summary: The TAIEX is struggling to recover. But Green Camp legislators are "occupying" the dais in the Legislature. People are panicked by rising flood waters. But DPP legislators are prostrate on the floor of the legislature, snoring loudly. Flood victims are struggling to clear debris out of their homes. A typhoon is expected this weekend. But ruling and opposition legislators persist in their power games, calculating how they can wait out the other and claim final victory.
Full Text below:
The TAIEX is struggling to recover. But Green Camp legislators are "occupying" the dais in the Legislature. People are panicked by rising flood waters. But DPP legislators are prostrate on the floor of the legislature, snoring loudly. Flood victims are struggling to clear debris out of their homes. A typhoon is expected this weekend. But ruling and opposition legislators persist in their power games, calculating how they can wait out the other and claim final victory.
The political parties may claim victory on issues such as US beef imports, the capital gains tax, and gasoline and electricity rate hikes. But the public and the nation are the scorched earth upon which the ruling and opposition parties wage their battles. Over the past four months, these issues have been hashed and rehashed, as if Taiwan did not have more important problems to deal with. Today, the end is near. Everyone wants the Legislative Yuan to end these disputes. But the opposition DPP and TSU refuse to allow the legislature to reconvene and deal with these problems.
The DPP issued a 120 hour mobilization order. The TSU issued a five day four night mobilization order. In short, the entire Green Camp is conducting a five day long, brute force occupation of the legislature. It has adopted a take no prisoners policy. Are the opposition DPP and TSU adopting their posture out of concern for the nation? Perhaps if they used the five days to participate in a ruling vs. opposition party debate, they might gain public attention and win public approval. But five days of delaying tactics, just to bring the legislature to a grinding halt, just to ensure that it is unable to get anything done? Will this really win public approval?
The opposition DPP and TSU are guilty of wishful thinking. They think their brute force occupation of the legislature will expose "ruling KMT incompetence and willfulness." But times have changed. Society is not what it used to be. Their theatrics are likely to backfire. One. The U.S. beef imports controversy has dragged on for seven years. The capital gains tax is making a comeback after 24 years. A majority of the public wants these issues resolved as soon as possible They do not want them hanging over their heads. Two. Previously the executive branch dropped the ball. It cannot escape blame for its poor communications and its lack of persuasiveness. But now the policies have been approved. Now the responsibility is in the hands of the legislative branch. But the legislature is unable to carry on its business. The public is pointing the finger at the opposition DPP and TSU, who are violently occupying the legislature and preventing it from functioning normally. Three. The new legislature lacks a track record. Legislators receive the same salary as ministry heads. If they bring the business of the legislature to a halt, aren't they squandering the taxpayers' hard-earned money? Legislators routinely blast executive branch officials as incompetent. But what do they see when they look in the mirror?
The Green Camp's tactics may be bizarre. Its violent occupation of the legislature has brought the Legislative Yuan to a grinding halt. But its theatrics will not win public approval. They will merely expose the Green Camp's barbarism. The DPP persists in opposing US beef imports and gasoline and electricity rate hikes. It boasts that it is "deferring to public opinion." In fact, the opposition DPP and TSU have zero respect for public opinion. If they did, wouldn't they allow the ruling and opposition parties to review the issues in accordance with the law? Wouldn't that be consistent with the spirit of democratic rule?
Currently the legislature has a Blue majority and a Green minority. This is the result of voters casting their ballots in January of this year. Directly elected legislators and legislators without portfolio alike were elected by the two-vote system. The number of seats won by each party reflects the leanings of the electorate as a whole. In this case, Green Camp legislators have staged a brute force occupation of the legislature in order to bring the legislature to a grinding halt. Bluntly speaking, they are attempting to hijack public opinion. They are trifling with democracy. And they have the nerve to claim they are deferring to public opinion? If opposition parties stage a violent occupation of the legislature during normal times, they may capture the public imagination. They may provide them with a topic for dinner conversation. But flood waters have reached peoples knees. The DPP doesn't know how to quit while it's ahead. They continue to occupy the legislature, camping out overnight. They will find it hard to escape charges that they "do not feel the peoples pain."
The Democratic Progressive Party's militancy is staggering. It issued a 120 hour mobilzation order. The excitement of the DPP "legions" was manifest. But equally manifest was the DPP's irrationality and foolishness. Taiwan was been democratic for over 20 years. Yet the DPP is still playing these "crude equals shrewd" games. It is not difficult to understand why our democracy has been unable to progress to the next level. The DPP has repeatedly been relegated to the status of a minority party, election after election. Yet they never seem to recognize their own limitations. The current brute force occupation of the legislature has made its irrationality clear to everyone.
The Legislative Yuan may be a Colisseum, of sorts. But what the people want to see is the ruling and opposition parties in a "battle of wits," not gladiatorial combat. They want to see competition, not obstructionism. The public on Taiwan is not like the ancient Romans who lusted for blood. The political parties must not threaten to draw blood. Politicians must not view the legislature as a battleground that they can turn into scorched earth.
A ship that has run aground can sail nowhere. A legislature unable to function, can lead Taiwan nowhere.