After the legislative elections, I waited to see letters from whining, complaining and backbiting Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters. At first all seemed well, but of late this tripe is beginning to creep in, with Jonathan Yen's (Letters, Jan. 21, page 8) claim that it's all the media's fault (to say nothing of the fact that a substantial number of Taiwanese are too stupid to detect media bias), Hans Stockton's (Jan. 20) argument that it's simply the electoral system's fault and Charles Hong's (Jan. 18) claim that any failings of the DPP can simply be laid at the feet of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Hayley Swinamer's (Jan. 18) teary-eyed encomium about Taiwan topped the whole thing off with praise that was apparently supposed to refer back to the DPP, while wholly discrediting the KMT.
While these opinions may at times have their merit, they are usually framed by DPP supporters who are for the most part hostile and self-serving, and simply dish out blame and deny any shortcomings of the "right team."
The DPP lost the election. Could it be Taiwan's economy that was behind the loss? Nah, the economy is fantastic -- and those that don't get it must be morons (this is often the Taipei Times' editorial line). Well, while this foreigner is doing okay teaching English in Taiwan, I can tell you that many of the people I know have indeed lamented the state of the economy, and how it does not currently provide them with enough opportunity and rewards.
Well then, is it the electoral system itself? This is a crybaby argument that ignores the fact that the KMT, like it or not, got more votes than the DPP (and though there were a few objections, nobody I saw before the election was demanding the system's annulment). Well maybe we can broaden the scope, and simply note that the other guys are all criminals and closet autocrats anyway, and so they must have done something devious in order to win. This is the dictators versus democrats view, and it is a venomous, unhelpful and simplistic approach to the issues that people in this nation face.
Instead of apportioning blame and howling about the injustice of it all, the DPP and its supporters need to wake up to reality and rein in their worst instincts. The supercilious tone of the DPP's cheerleaders, their self-righteous declamations of exactly what anyone and everyone in Taiwan should and must think and do, and their routine denigration of one half or more of Taiwan's population have gotten utterly tiresome. These are all reasons, I think, that many people are in the process of drumming the DPP out of power.
All of this is endlessly frustrating for those of us who want to see the emergence of a wise, equitable and progressive civic discourse in Taiwan.
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