Mon, Jul 26, 2004 - Page 8 News List

By-election dealt a blow to political corruption

By Bob Kuo郭峰淵

The recent Kaohsiung City Council by-election can be regarded as a victory for ordinary people and proof of the nobility of ordinary people.

It is easily understood why it was a victory. In this by-election, there were nine candidates from vote-buying families, which means they were the substitutes for former councilors who were found guilty of vote-buying. The fact that these candidates were affiliated with the four major political parties revealed each party's arrogance and their disdain for the residents of Kaohsiung. With this level of corruption, local residents suffered a lack of choice and had to tolerate this kind of political barbarism. Nevertheless, Kaohsiung residents rejected the culture of vote-buying by not going to the polls in large numbers. The by-election saw the lowest voter turnout rate in the city's history.

Kaohsiung residents also rejected six out of the nine

candidates from vote-buying families, and all the candidates representing the Democratic Progressive Party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union from the families lost the election. What is more important is the three winning candidates from vote-buying families are characters with a deep historical relationship with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT); their success in obtaining office is telling. It says that the KMT's history of autocratic rule and corruption not only continues, but still threatens the Taiwanese people. The presence of these people in the city council serves to remind oblivious Taiwanese not to forget, and to despise the horrors brought by the dictatorial forces of the old era. The rejection of this kind of corruption is a victory for the residents of Kaohsiung.

But, why use the phrase "nobility of ordinary people?" Since March's presidential elections, people in the south have always been described as fools under the heel of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) "politics of despotic populism" by pan-blue leaders and Taipei-based media. Among them, the most prominent in denigrating people in the south of the country is from the Coalition for Equal Opportunity and its extension, the Democratic Action Alliance. History is filled with examples of the "elites" describing their detractors as animals or fools. This kind of defamation and insult is bound to cause estrangement and coldness among those targeted by it and to make them even more cynical about the political process.

On the other hand, the ability of Kaohsiung residents to reject this kind of elitism, even after incessant denigration, indicates that their nobility certainly surpasses all the politicians, professors and writers who insult their intelligence.

Kaohsiung's victory over political corruption not only belongs to the people of Kaohsiung, but to all Taiwanese people.

Bob Kuo is a professor of information systems at National Sun Yat-Sen University.


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