Friday, October 1, 2010

The DPP's Two-Faced Nature

The DPP's Two-Faced Nature
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
October 1, 2010

It is impossible for any long term observer of politics on Taiwan not to be appalled by the two-faced nature of the Democratic Progressive Party. Last year the DPP demanded that Liu Chao-hsuan step down. They accused him of taking time out to get a haircut during a typhoon. Yet it now insists that Chen Chu taking time out for a nap during a typhoon was "a matter of urgency." Another example is Borough Chief Lin Chi-mei. Lin filed a lawsuit against Chen Chu for dereliction of duty vis a vis flood prevention and flood relief. Party members immediately threatened to revoke her party membership. Yu Tien recently directed a barrage of personal attacks against Jason Hu's crippled wife. Yet Tsai Ing-wen came to his defense, and lauded him as "a man of virtue."

Consider Lin Chi-mei and Yu Tien. Just exactly whose words and deeds were inappropriate? Lin Chi-mei is borough chief for the hardest hit disaster area. As she sees it, the Kaohsiung City Government was derelict in its flood prevention and flood rescue responsibilities. Both water pumps and flood retention basins failed to do their job. The result was catastrophic losses by local citizens. That is why she filed a dereliction of duty suit against city government officials with the local prosecutor's office. Lin Chi-mei's lawsuit is an accurate reflection of public sentiment. It is a legitimate exercise of a citizen's rights. Yet the DPP's immediate reaction was to revoke her party membership. To the DPP, "Our interests trump the nation's laws." What does such an attitude represent, but the mindset of mob bosses?

To the DPP, "Those who obey me will prosper, those who defy me will perish." The DPP puts the party's interests above all else, even the interests of the nation. It goes without saying that the party's interests trump the interests of an insignificant little Borough such as Benhe. Secondly, party discipline trumps the civil rights of party members. Party members are not granted autonomy. Thirdly, party members are not permitted even to comment on the performance of high party officials, let alone file lawsuits them.

Lin Chi-mei filed suit against Chen Chu for dereliction of duty. She did so out of a sense of responsibility as borough chief, and out of a desire for justice. All citizens have this basic right. Yu Tien mocked Shao Hsiao-lin at a political rally. He jibed that "her brains were scrambled." He mocked Jason Hu as a gimp. By contrast, Yu Tien was engaging in vicious personal attacks. Yu Tien is a legislator. Yet he evinces no respect whatsoever for the dignity of other human beings. He has no qualms about treating his opponent's physical impairments as an object of mockery, merely in order to win an election. His campaign tactics are uncouth beyond belief. Five years ago doctors sympathetic to the DPP violated medical ethics by leaking Jason Hu's confidential medical records. Yet the DPP still refuses to condemn Yu Tien's uncouth behavior. Tsai Ing-wen still rationalizes away his behavior, and praises him as "a man of virtue." Wu Nai-jen lamented that "a single word brought down the entire group." But he did so only because he knew Yu Tien had crossed the line. Also, the "entire group" Wu referred to was merely the DPP, not society or the nation as a whole.

As we can see, the DPP judges right and wrong based not on society's perception of moral values, based not on democracy or the rule of law, but solely on its impact on the interests of a single political party. That is why yesterday it used one set of standards to criticize others, but today it applies an entirely different set of standards to itself. Remember how the DPP bent over backwards to rationalize away Chen Shui-bian's corruption? Now see how the DPP is attempting to demonize Hau Lung-bin over water spinach. The double-standards are mind-boggling.

The DPP will not allow Lin Chi-mei to sue Chen Chu. Yet it condones Yu Tien's crude and vicious personal attacks against Jason Hu. The DPP boasts that it occupies the moral high ground, even as administers poison under the table. Ironically, when it comes to contradictions between its words and its deeds, the DPP is consistent. For example, Chen Shui-bian was clearly guilty of massive corruption and unbridled greed. Yet the DPP spun the "Cape Number Seven" seven hundred million as a "Taiwan independence war chest." For example, Tsai Ing-wen denounced ECFA as an agreement that sold out the nation. Meanwhile Green Camp mayors tripped over each other in their stampede toward the Mainland. The remained utterly indifferent to their own duplicity as they rushed to sell their products and services on the Mainland market. The DPP's two-faced behavior is routinely rationalized away with sophistries and equivocations. It is cavalierly dismissed as mere tactical measures. The DPP is a political party whose actions bear no resemblance to its words. It is a political party whose actions reflect two entirely different sets of standards. How can the public find its way out of the DPP's maze of verbal contradictions?

Take for example the DPP's rhetorical question, "Which is more important, a haircut, or a nap?" The issue is not which was a matter of greater urgency. The issue was the context and political integrity. When Liu Chao-hsuan took time out a haircut, he was not a frontline commander in the disaster area. He had already made the proper administrative arrangements. He was in constant contact with the onsite team. He went for his haircut two days after the flood was over. It was an entirely reasonable part of winding down before returning to his residence to get some badly needed sleep. Where was the urgency? By contrast, when Chen Chu returned to her residence to nap, she was a frontline commander. She had witnessed with her own eyes the flooded streets in Kaohsiung. The flood was still ongoing. Therefore the question we must ask is, was there really no urgency to the safety of the public at this time?

Lin Chi-mei is a humble borough chief. She was merely exercising her basic right as an ordinary citizen. Yet the DPP put her to the sword. Yu Tien repeatedly exploited his background as a performer to enact his tasteless game of political theater. Yet the party leadership obstinately chose to rationalize away his faux pas. Such inversions of right and wrong, such reversals of black and white, and such glaring double standards, are why the public finds it so difficult to trust the DPP. If the DPP wants to expand its support base beyond its fundamentalist core, the first thing it must do is change its morally opportunistic political tactics.










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