Monday, January 16, 2012

Lesson from Taiwan's Recent Election

Much to the relief of the US, China and of course the majority of Taiwanese who voted for him, Ma Ying-jeou was re-elected as president for another four years. His re-election means no disruption in the building of cross straits relations and corresponding reduced likelihood of flare-ups and incidents that would raise cross strait tensions. Stability across the straits was highly sought after by Washington, Beijing as well as Taipei.

Ma won by a 6% margin, less than the 17% landslide from his first election but nonetheless a surprisingly comfortable lead considering the widely anticipated wire photo finish with his opponent from the opposition party. There were no last minute shenanigan, such as an election eve assassination attempt, to interrupt the proceedings. Some observers have even gone to proclaim that Taiwan's orderly exercise in democracy should inspire their brethren on the mainland.

Actually, I think Taiwan could serve as a lesson for America. Essentially three out of four voters in Taiwan turned out to vote. In the US, one out of two would be doing good. Nearly 200,000 Taiwanese flew back from the mainland, where they were working to vote in the election. Uncounted thousands even flew from the San Francisco Bay Area to vote. Since Ma won by more than 800,000 votes, the oversea returnees can't be said to spell the difference.

But we can say, they went back to Taiwan to vote because they cared. We have not seen such voter concern and passion in the US for many elections. Just the opposite is happening. We are inundated with negative lies and deliberate distortions funded by the rich to the point that we no longer give a damn. For decades America has not been a democracy of the people but has become corrupted by highest bidders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right about the big discrepancy between the ratio of voting in the 70-80% range in Taiwan vs our ratio of about 50% or less. Even with such a low voter turnout, it is amazing that we still pass legislations to make voting more difficult, especially for minorities in Southern States. This is so despite the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

David Chai