Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Localization and democracy lost

By Weisley Chiou 邱德宏

Over the years, two major issues have dominated the nation's political scene, namely, "democracy" and "localization." To be precise, the true values and definitions of democracy and localization have been unclear -- not to mention severely distorted -- as a result of political manipulation.

During the Martial Law era, legislators who scuffled in the legislature were regarded as pioneers of democracy. However, in the democratic era, the same behavior remains symbolic of our democracy. In other words, democracy is derived from legislative brawls and continues to thrive on legislative brawls; democracy in Taiwan is destined to be taken to the extreme, and the current wave of democratic fervor has prompted fierce conflict over localization.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing absolutely good or bad about democracy and localization, nor do any of these issues belong to either the blue or the green camp. Any party attempting to monopolize them is guilty of politically manipulating these values for the sake of its own interests.

Since the lifting of martial law, democracy has swept the nation: Politicians have become muckrakers, education should be democratic and so should the army. It seems everything should be democratic, but instead everything is in chaos: politics, education, the armed forces, the media.

Should the price of democracy really be lawlessness and anarchy? Taiwan's democracy is emotional, impulsive and lacking in rational debate, making it impossible to talk about Taiwan normalizing its national status.

Taiwan's democracy has been pushed to the point where it has lost its meaning. However, no political parties or politicians are working to redress the situation. Instead, they shift to pushing for localization. Today, the localization cause has been monopolized and even profaned by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Even though some pan-greens are attempting to draw a distinction between the corrupt image of the green camp and the localization cause, I think they should stop trying to monopolize the localization issue as if they were something special. Localization should be a concern for all.

Democracy and localization are public assets that do not belong to any one party. They do not belong to those who were the first to talk about it, and being the first to pursue it does not make its supporters right. If a party or a proponent of any of these causes does not understand that, democracy and localization will end up as "political commodities" manipulated by politicians for their own profit.

In the end, these two nouns will become temporary fads just like the refrigerator magnets given away at local convenience stores, thrown away once their popularity passes and benefitting only businessmen and politicians.

Rational democracy and deep-seated localization should be established together, by all political parties and Taiwanese. Neither democracy nor localization concerns should be allowed to override all other concerns, nor should they be allowed to divide the development of party politics by representing either the blue or the green camp.

Looking at Taiwan's political development, no one can refute the value of democracy or localization, nor can political parties avoid developing toward democracy and localization. However, it is now time that we make some adjustments to both democracy and localization.

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