Sun, Dec 19, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Capitalists unite!

By Erick Heroux

The legislative elections were distorted by fear, much as the election of US President George W. Bush was distorted by fear. Different fears for different countries, to be sure, but fear and democracy do not mix.

Interviews strongly suggest that the vote was based on fear of an invasion by China -- which the pan-blue media had drummed up relentlessly. Those who were not afraid voted for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), while those who were afraid voted for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). After the election results were reported, everyone relaxed into the notion of Confucian harmony. A conciliatory gesture toward China had effectively been made, and now everyone could go back to shopping. After all, holidays are coming soon!

But the Taiwanese seem to be the last people on Earth to get the message that they themselves just sent out to the world. All of the international press, including even the Arab press, as someone noted, printed the same headlines: "Taiwan voted against independence." Here in Taipei, academics are disputing this message, but they seem to be in denial. The denial nevertheless reveals that the election was distorted by fear: People didn't vote against independence; they just voted for peace. But that choice is an illusion. It may take a few years before the Taiwanese realize what they've just done.

In other words, the international press got it right, and further the "no independence" sign is not merely a rhetorical message. Beyond communicating this message, Taiwan's little window of opportunity just slammed shut. History is moving relentlessly onward, in an accelerated period of transition. Time waits for no one. President "A-bian" Chen [Shui-bian (陳水扁)] cannot run for election again.

As in the past four years, we again are saddled with a KMT majority in the legislature blocking any effective reform, trashing anything and everything that the DPP attempts to pass. For the next four years, Taiwan will be able to change nothing. Meanwhile, after four years, they say that China's military will have attained effective superiority. More fear is the consequence.

More fear equates to more KMT. Hence, the KMT will be back in full power, controlling the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judiciary and the media. They will have the authority to move toward unification.

Independence from China will remain a curious little dream left in the wake of historical "realism."

Capitalists unite! You have nothing to lose but your democratic chains!

Erick Heroux

Taipei

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