Instead of single-issue groups, several organizations, which share similar values, now work together to raise awareness of important issues, and rarely do so through the lens of a specific political preference. In many cases, the organizers would rather political parties not turn up at their events, or at least attempt to keep them at arm’s length.
Through this fledging, still somewhat rough amalgam of people and organizations — “little platoons,” the 18th-century political thinker Edmund Burke called them — Taiwanese may be leading their nation into a new phase of national consciousness, one that manages to transcend the age-old blue/green, Taiwanese/Mainlander political divide that undermines progress.
Gradually, as the causes they espouse attract academics and officials, this emerging movement could coalesce into a third force — a transformative and healing force that could liberate Taiwan’s 23 million people from a stultifying “status quo” that stems from an unresolved past that some people, for various reasons, would prefer remained unresolved.
J. Michael Cole is a deputy news editor at the Taipei Times.