The anti-Chen media's reporting not only suppresses the rationality of others, stokes ethnic and urban-rural tensions and limits room for discussion, but it is also a distortion of one of the institutions society depends on to access the truth.
Ever since the media inflated vote counts in their reporting during the 2004 presidential election, not only have they refused to reflect on their role in Taiwan politics, but they have progressively degenerated. Every day in the news, besides self-righteous and self-serving "leaks" and commentaries, we also see uninformed, speculative and distorted explanations. Taiwan has truly become a laughing stock.
In regards to the campaign to oust the president, everyone agrees that they have a legitimate right to voice their demands, but many people don't agree with their methods. How is it possible for others to express their opinion when the reds are crowding out the public sphere?
Citizens must depend on themselves and their ability to make things happen. In our day-to-day lives, we must oppose all kinds of polarization, be it unification versus independence, blue versus green, or pro-Chen versus anti-Chen. Human rights and the rule of law are the future of Taiwan's democracy, and media reform is the next great task to strengthen it. Before this can be done, social trust needs to be re-established.
We will need moral courage to resist being taken in by ethnically inflammatory language, and we will need self-reflection and perseverance to promote social reconciliation. If we have the strength to recognize our own shortcomings and admit that everyone has a chance to learn from one other, then we stand a chance of ending the civil war.
This is the civics lesson that we all must learn if we want to establish a democracy with values of accountability and respect.
Chang Mao-kuei is a research fellow at the Institute of Sociology at Academia Sinica and president of the Association of Mainlander Taiwanese.
Translated by Marc Langer and Jason Cox