Hollowing out Democracy Unwittingly


As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s Day, I have something to say.  I seem to always have things to say whenever it is Martin Luther King Jr’s Day. 


You probably have already known that I have been watching this year’s presidential election in Taiwan very closely.  What I saw that happened during the entire election campaign process depicted an incumbent president, whose behavior was characterized as mistrust, double
standards and intransparency, backed by a strong authoritarian-inclined policy-making KMT in the realms of justice and the rule of law, which behavior stood in diametric opposition to Taiwan’s democracy. 


The danger that I see in this election is that there is no compliance in between, no balance in power between parties and the government in power is tilting its policies too heavily on one side.  The KMT’s current, overwhelming parliamentary majority allows it to ignore dissenting views, ignoring any opinion provided by the opposition parties and the public, and continue to support its incompetent president.  Freedom House’s 2010 Freedom in the World report downgraded Taiwan’s civil liberties ranking from 1 to 2 reflecting KMT’s increased political power in reverting to authoritarian governing practices.    


I was surprised to see that the most critical issue ignored by the people, the incompetency of the incumbent president and his cabinets.  I have to ask you, if you own the stock of a company, wouldn’t you want to hire a CEO who can competently and successfully run the company to create value and profit of the company and oust the one who's incompetent?


Anyway that is just what I observed as an outsider. Sometimes, it fareth between thee and me as it doth between a player at the chess and a looker on, for he that looketh on seeth many draughts that the player considereth nothing at all. However, I could also be biased because of my own ideology.


You probably have also known that I am pro Taiwan Independence.  How much do I care about Taiwan being independent?  I don’t think the degree of enthusiasm is as high as that on when China can truly become a democratic country.  We all hope that day will come soon that Communist China will one day collapse and no longer be a threat to anyone or any country in the world by promoting terrorist attacks and suppressing human rights.  I care more if China will become a democratic country before it takes over Taiwan and before Taiwan becomes an independent country.  The premise is that China has to become a democratic country first before it makes any move on Taiwan. 


I care a lot about basic human rights: the freedom of speech, the freedom of belief and the freedom from fear.  I care that if we work hard, we will not be treated as second grade citizen.  It so happened that today is Martin Luther King Jr's day.  I really admire him for the contribution he made in improving human rights and decreasing racism.  He was a great leader who fought for human rights.   I also have a dream and that is the collapse of Communist China.  I wish that China will turn into a democratic country in the near future.  If I can pick the year, I wish that to happen before Taiwan's next presidential election in 2016.    


Anyway, my concern is more around democracy of the country and the competency of the person/government in place.  I don’t know where Taiwan’s future lies.  I am somewhat pessimistic.  I am extremely worried about the weakening democracy under the current Taiwanese government.  Benjamin Franklin once said “Those who give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty Safety.”  You should cherish what you have and protect it with all your might.  Don’t wait until when it is taken away and when it is too late to cry over spilled milk.      





Written by Elisa English

On January 16, 2011 


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