Mon, Feb 28, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Voters get what they deserve

By John Napiorkowski

Many in Taiwan are angry that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) betrayed his commitment to his political ideology for a more independent Taiwan. Indeed, I was myself -- and I am a foreigner.

His "partnership" with People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) seems absurd. On one side, you have a man from China who wants Taiwan to assimilate with China. On the other, you have a man, native to Taiwan, who even caused the US (fresh from "liberating" Iraq) to caution and sayd, "Whoa! Slow down a bit with that independence talk!"

The Feb. 24 agreement should not be a total shock, however. Without this consensus, Chen would have been a lame-duck president for the second time in as many terms in office. This fact should make the Taiwanese realize something.

It is not so much a betrayal by Chen as it is a result of what the Taiwanese did (or didn't do) last December. That is, give the Democratic Progressive Party a majority in the legislature.

The Taiwanese people had a choice in December -- to vote for the future of a strong Taiwan or to continue to wallow in corrupt partisanship for localized short-term gain. As it turned out, a nation who has been under an oppressive regime for over 40 years continued to vote for two parties which are against the ideals of freedom and democracy. As it turned out, corrupt localized short-term partisan politics won.

The Taiwanese were obviously not reflecting on the fact that Soong (宋楚瑜) and Chinese Nationlist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) basically spit on the ideals of a strong, democratic and free Taiwan during much of last year (most notably, during the presidential election and its aftermath). The Taiwanese were obviously not concerned about Chen having the support he needed to fulfill the campaign promises which led him to victory last year.

So then, why is it such a shocker? If the people (the measly 57 percent who voted) can sell out their country for short-term gain during an extremely important election, knowing that they are selling their nation-building souls to the devil, why is it that Chen can't sell himself out for a chance at some kind of legacy and effectiveness for his second term? Don't blame Chen -- blame yourselves.

John Napiorkowski

Taipei

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