How does it happen? You have two legislators, along with a couple of staffers sitting in a room brainstorming. Public faith in the government is at an all-time low, with the legislature's ratings at the very bottom. In addition, with the number of legislators halved next year, you have a particularly competitive election coming up. "I know!" cries one of the two. "Let's stage an impromptu safety drill at the nation's leading university during mid-term exams, substituting an eating utensil for a deadly weapon. That should get people to respect us."
How such a foolhardy act was planned and executed raises many questions. How could this possibly be seen as a good idea? Did anybody planning this consider the safety of students and teachers? Was there any thought about talking this over with the police beforehand? Did anybody even consider whether they even had the authority to pull off such a stunt? Was there alcohol consumed during this meeting?
The few times that I have written a letter for this section was to criticize the government. I am not particularly fond of this fact, especially since I am an American and do not want to be seen as just another expatriate making fun of my host government. But these legislators are just like those kids we all used to pick on in school. You felt bad doing it, but they just seemed to be begging for it.
The reason the legislature's approval rating is so dismally low is because people have lost all respect for legislators. Rather than create national laws and implement a practical budget, legislators are playing party politics, calling endless press conferences and running into a university classroom with a fork pretending it is a submachine gun. This is not lost on Taiwanese.
Next spring, Taiwanese will have an unprecedented opportunity to trim some of the fat of the legislature. Hopefully they will use their vote to "kill off" some of these legislators who try to substitute flare for content.
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