The Blue and Green Camps Should Talk Vision
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 27, 2011
Summary: Polling day is approaching. Blue vs. Green electioneering has turned to street fighting and hand to hand combat. The Two Yings can no longer maintain their former decorum. The debate now calls for relentlessly hitting the enemy where it hurts. The two camps are constantly testing out new election ploys. Attacks are being directed at the heart of the enemy camp with unprecedented frequency. The election campaign has everyone's nerves on edge.
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Polling day is approaching. Blue vs. Green electioneering has turned to street fighting and hand to hand combat. The Two Yings can no longer maintain their former decorum. The debate now calls for relentlessly hitting the enemy where it hurts. The two camps are constantly testing out new election ploys. Attacks are being directed at the heart of the enemy camp with unprecedented frequency. The election campaign has everyone's nerves on edge.
Ma Ying-jeou, Tsai Ing-wen, and James Soong have participated in two presidential debates, one policy presentation, and one cultural issues Q&A. Wu Den-yih, Su Jia-chyuan, and Lin Ruey-shiung, the three vice presidential candidates, have participated in one vice presidential debate. Two more presidential policy presentations are planned. One more vice presidential policy presentation is planned.
The Taiwan Region of the Republic of China is geographically limited. The three campaigns have had plenty of opportunities to work the streets and the countryside, to hold rallies, and to speak their peace to voters. The president and vice president do not have much more to say. As a result, they merely present the same material, over and over again. It sometimes looks as if TaiMed and Fubon were running for Republic of China president. Voters want neither TaiMed nor Fubon. Nor do they want fortune tellers predicting the outcome of the election. They are deeply frustrated.
The Blue and Green camps are expending much effort gaining or maintaining the support of local bosses. Whenever they can, they pay visits to various and sundry elders, big shots, and professional organizations, beseeching them to step forward and support them. But really, what is the point? The Republic of China has undergone countless elections. The central government has undergone two ruling party changes. Local governments have gone from Blue to Green and back again. Voters are shrewder than ever. They are clearer than ever about what they want. Just how much influence do these "elders" still have? Just how much difference will gaining or maintaining their support make? What do voters really want? Isn't what they really want a ruling administration able to take care of them? Isn't what they really want a political leader who actually cares about them? What they don't want is politicians and political parties who work the crowds and spread money around only at election time.
Who are the politicians' most dependable, most powerful "local bosses?" Not the ward heelers who wine and dine them for a quid pro quo, but the people, ordinary men in the street. These are the politicians' real "local bosses." Politicians and political parties able to provide people with a better life will be the ones who win new voter support. Politicians and political parties able to bring peace and prosperity will be the ones who consolidate existing voter support.
The three presidential and vice presidential candidates have had many opportunities to address the public. Unfortunately, they used up most of that time denouncing each other, smearing each other. For supporters with firm convictions, "believers remain believers, unbelievers remain unbelievers." It is difficult to convert them to a different perspective.
Therefore searching for evidence and buying advertising is a waste of resources. During an election too many complex emotions are involved. Why not wait until the election is over, then allow the justice system to sort out the merits of their arguments? After all, it is less than 20 days before the election, No matter what conclusions one might reach, they are unlikely to quell the feelings of the masses.
Society on Taiwan is ruled by law. Why not allow scandals to be investigated by the justice system? Why must we fight over them tooth and nail, just before the general election? Who in the Blue and Green camps is willing to make the first concession, for the sake of the people? Who is willing to shelve past grievances, for the sake of the future? Only through sacrifices can one make gains.
Tsai Ing-wen once cast herself in the role of the real mother in the parable of King Solomon and the infant child. This provoked a wave of Blue Camp disdain. For both the KMT and the DPP, the real mother must be the hearts and minds of the people. They must care about social harmony and peace. They must be willing to allow controversial issues to die down. They must be willing to take a step back for the greater good.
The office of the president is responsible for the nation's economic development. Yet presidential candidates run around all day, wasting their time and energy. Their words and deeds should set an example for society. Yet all they do is denounce each other. Where leaders go, the public follows. No wonder society is increasingly cynical and violent. If the presidential and vice presidential candidates were more constructive in their choice of language, if they avoided naked intimidation and wild accusations, they might promote greater harmony within society.
If the candidates would sling a little less mud over the next ten days, if they would eschew empty rhetoric and ignorant rants, they might be able to enhance everyone's well-being. If so, would they still need to seek wisdom from sacred texts in Bhutan?
The election countdown has begun. Politicians are preparing to celebrate New Year's Eve. But have they thought about what kind of future we face?
If the Blue and Green camp presidential candidates are truly ready to fulfill the role of national leader, they should contemplate the challenge the future poses. They should already be in a compassionate state. Mere discretion is not enough. Where do they get the time and energy to make irresponsible remarks all day long?
Neither the TaiMed nor Fubon cases are Taiwan's most serious problem. There is no need to engage in shouting and name calling over them. Only 18 days remain til election day. Let the Blue and Green camps put the past behind them. Make room for the future. Get past petty grievances. Make room for greater possibilities.