Mon, Jul 17, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Time to realize the nation’s ideals

By Chen Chu 陳菊

We have gone from a street movement to a fully fledged political party, and we are honored to have received the public’s trust in moving forward and facing each new challenge that comes our way.

In the past, the struggle was between the ideal of democracy and the autocratic state: it was black and white; right versus wrong. There was no need for us to doubt what we were doing, we were very clear about which side we should be standing on. It was about the masses protesting against unjust state power.

Now that the dictator’s statues have been toppled, the nation must operate within the bounds of a democratic system. The government belongs to the public and some form of balance must be sought in the rights and interests of ordinary people. Each social movement represents the interests of groups and each has its own goals.

As every new civic movement emerges among a multitude of social and economic discourses — the public interest and individual rights, freedom or equality, prosperity and progress, all of which are positive values in and of themselves — often compete with each other in the reality of everyday life.

Those in government have two main duties: to protect Taiwan’s national security and promote social progress. The former is obvious and absolute, and I observe what positive moves President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is making in this regard.

The latter involves addressing conflicting values and the contradiction between what one would ideally want and what reality imposes.

Nevertheless, I do believe that if we are clear about what our values are and place importance on the actual results of policy, what follows is but a question of making choices and standing by them.

Revolution is sudden; reform is gradual. We have already gone through the revolutionary stage and, now that the dictator has been overthrown, the most important and difficult task is how to realize our ideals and make them succeed.

I do believe that as long as we continue to listen to what the public is saying, and adjust the way we proceed accordingly and continue to take Taiwan in the direction of becoming a civilized nation, ever mindful of why we started off on this path in the first place, then we are sure to succeed.

It is with this thought in mind that we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law.

Chen Chu is Kaohsiung mayor and a former prisoner for her part in the Kaohsiung Incident.

Translated by Lin Lee-kai and Paul Cooper

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