Sunday, November 30, 2014

Conga conga conga...conga conga conga...

That was me after a glass of hot wine last night doing a one-woman conga around our Christmas tree thanks to the pounding, the slaughter, the stomping, the trouncing, the up-the-bumming, the spanking, the slapping down, the kicking to the curb, the killing, the decimation (used in its modern sense so shoosh), the machete-ing that the KMT took last night! Yippee!

They deserved it too. The Taiwanese did not need to prove that they're not idiots and don't like being treated as such or condescended to, but like the elevator at one of my workplaces, the KMT is a little slow on the uptake. 

Side note: they really are like the Republicans of Taiwan - they have policies that benefit the rich and well-connected, they don't care much about the middle and working classes let alone the poor, they're socially conservative (although this is not as much a problem with the KMT, the KMT's issue is just not giving a damn about women's or LGBT rights whereas the Republicans actively oppose the equality of both groups), they're in bed with some very bad people (though you could say the same for the Democrats so I'm not sure that one counts) and they rely on a horrific amount of propaganda to get their bitter pills swallowed. They think very poorly of anyone who is not rich, intellectually lazy or well-connected and especially not anyone of a different race (for Republicans that'd be white, for the KMT that'd be Han Chinese both ethnically and culturally), they try to smear opponents with "they're not patriotic" and "they don't understand foreign policy" nonsense, and they have shitty foreign policy. And even the Republicans have more high-profile women than the KMT. 

The voters sent a clear message: don't condescend to us. We won't take it. Don't tell us we're lazy and privileged, that we say we want change but we don't really, that the reason we don't like a policy is that we just "don't understand it", not because it's a bad policy. Don't act like you were born to rule us, and that we should just accept being lorded over by a bunch of kleptocrats. Don't treat us alternately like ignorant peasants or idiot children. And listen to us. Public opinion means something - just because we elected you before doesn't mean you're the emperors of this country. Listen to us, or get the fuck out.

The KMT didn't listen, and here we are. They're out. BUH BYE.

They're a party of intellectually lazy nepotists - "we MUST get closer to China because it's the ONLY WAY and we can't consider any other ways because it's the ONLY one and if you even think about other ways you JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND...and can we just forget that whole genocide thing we did and haven't really apologized or made reparations or fully released records for? Also vote for my son. He's an idiot with no clear policies, but vote for him anyway." - so I bet they're sitting around now not thinking about how they lost because they didn't do the one thing fundamental to getting elected in a real democracy - - listening to the people. They're either whipping Sean Lien in a back room somewhere and blaming this whole thing on him, or they're grousing about how they lost "because those ignorant Taiwanese farmers who have misguided nationalism as a result of DPP propaganda and don't understand the right and good and morally correct value of being Chinese, not Taiwanese, and they just don't understand our good and morally correct policies and platforms". 

Because that's exactly what they showed us in this last campaign. Today's youth are privileged and dumb. The Sunflowers were just a trendy thing for airheaded children. You say you want change, but you really don't. If you can't get a taxi you'll be so upset that you'll steal vegetables. The only political protest you're willing to stick with is liking or unliking something on Facebook. Listen to us, we know better than you. You hate Koreans, right? Here's an ad about how Korea will beat us. Since you don't really understand free trade agreements, just be racist and vote for us because you hate Koreans. Also, the only reason people argue about politics is that they don't all support the KMT. If we win people will stop arguing about politics because we are the only correct choice.

And yet they are probably wondering why they got spanked. Even Sean Lien said not "I'm sorry I wasn't a better candidate" but "I'm sorry I didn't try hard enough to win." You did try hard enough to win, Sean, it's just that you weren't a very good candidate and you didn't try to be. You didn't stop to think that maybe the citizens of Taipei are smarter than the KMT gives them credit for and they want good candidates. Jason Hu's people are probably thinking "Taichung residents are just spoiled and don't see that the BRT is simply ironing out some flaws", rather than "Jason Hu was a bad mayor and got what he deserved - he should have done a better job". 

And nationally they are probably not thinking "Even Eric Chu won by only a thin margin, maybe we should do better generally and appeal to public opinion, because he's not necessarily a safe candidate in 2016", but "Eric Chu won, let's run him, it'll be fine". Or "the people are genuinely unhappy with Ma Ying-jiu for some good reasons, perhaps he should change tactics and step down as chairman of the KMT, a position he should never have been allowed to retain in the first place". Instead they're probably thinking "well these were regional and local elections, they have no bearing on the presidency". Except they do, seeing as Jiang Yi-huah has resigned. GOOD RIDDANCE, but not good enough.

Of course, some news outlets got it all wrong. The Economist, as usual, is full of shit:

The polls on November 29th, for 11,130 mayors, councillors and town chiefs, saw big gains for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which has attacked the KMT’s efforts to forge closer economic ties with China.

Way to not be biased, jerks! "attacked the KMT's efforts"? I want to criticize this but it's so obviously subjective garbage that all I need to do is highlight it. Your reporters clearly missed the class on avoiding biased language.

The elections, being local ones, were more about such issues as urban development rather than relations with China. Candidates sought to win over voters with plans for building infrastructure and public housing. But the poll did reflect widespread dissatisfaction with Mr Ma’s handling of the economy, says George Tsai of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Salaries have stagnated for years and there is a widespread belief that only Taiwan’s business elite is reaping the economic rewards of closer ties with China. (Mr Ma has signed 21 agreements with China, including a ground-breaking free-trade pact in 2010.) 

WRONG. The people of Taiwan are pissed off about relations with China - not so much that they're overly warm but that the KMT has bowed and scraped and given handjobs under the table to get these "warm relations". These elections were the only way that the people could show their unhappiness, as there were no national elections this year. So they showed it locally. This is a rejection of the KMT's let's-whore-out-Taiwan-to-China garbage, whether you want to believe it or not.

It's not even conspiracy-theory madness to say that China's strategy and end goal is to pull Taiwan into an inextricable vortex towards annexation...they've come right out and said it! And the KMT has gone along with it. Would you like another handjob, Mr. Xi? And it hasn't even helped the economy, except for a few very wealthy people who have benefited, and a few more jobs for Taiwanese that are in China - where few if any Taiwanese really want to live - not Taiwan.

And it's not "a widespread belief" that only the wealthy have benefited. You're making it sound like people believe something that's not necessarily true. But it is true. It's a belief, but it's a belief based in fact and it does you no favors as a credible news source to imply otherwise.

Also, "groundbreaking". Screw you and your biased language. Go suck a butt.

It will be even less convinced that Mr Ma will have the political strength to push for more measures to improve cross-strait ties before he steps down in 2016; there had been talk of setting up representative offices in each other’s territory as well as greater liberalisation of cross-strait trade. The DPP’s strengthened popularity might cause some KMT lawmakers to become more lukewarm in their support for these projects (early in 2016 they will be up for re-election too). The coming year will be a tense one in Taiwan’s politics.

Blah blah blah free trade is great we all love it and take it as a given that it is good and right and necessary and there can be no other way and it must be with China and this is always a good thing under any circumstances blah blah blah. Intellectually lazy garbage full of all sorts of biased language (relations have only "improved" if you think Ma's efforts have been good for Taiwan. I happen to think they have not).

All in all, I do think the DPP will do better than the KMT, because they, for all their many, many (many) faults, actually listen to the people, and the people deserve to be listened to. Plus, it'd be hard to do worse than the KMT.

Of course China will blow its wad - I look forward to reading about that, anything that angers and frustrates the Chinese government makes me want to get up and re-start that conga line - and of course The Economist and other crappy news sources are going to say it's the DPP's fault, that they're not good at governance, that they're "troublemakers", when China's the real troublemaker. The DPP isn't anti-China (anym0re). They're in favor of respectful dialogue with China - that is, dialogue in which Taiwan's sovereignty is respected. If China can't manage even that, they are the problem, not Taiwan and not the DPP.

The people of Taiwan understand that. I wonder when The Economist (and the US government) will. 

In the end, I know this is not the end of the KMT (too bad). I'm not against changing parties every few years, but I'd like to see a more pluralistic system, and I'd like to see a better party than the KMT challenge the DPP. It's good and healthy for parties to change up every few years, even if you like - or at least don't hate - the party that's just been swept into power. In a few years these headlines will switch around, I'm sure. And that's good - it keeps politicians on their toes. Forces them to work harder and be better (a lesson the KMT did not learn, it seems...let's see if my predictions of their reactions are accurate or if they finally get with the program and start treating the voters, especially the youth, with respect). I just wish the opposition was better than the KMT is (I feel the same way about Republicans - the Democrats need to be kept on their toes or they grow complacent and non-transparent as well - but can't we have a party less odious than Republicans?). 

The KMT ran Taiwan like its own personal fiefdom/treasure chest/gift to China for 6 years, with 2 or so remaining in the presidency. So I hope the DPP gets a crack at running things at least till 2020 or 2024. 

Then we can talk about changing up the guard a little, perhaps with another party that can challenge the DPP and do a better job than the KMT, and without a history of dictatorship and genocide. 

Today, we celebrate.

Tomorrow, we build a better Taiwan. 


Judy Linton said...

Always glad to meet another anti-KMT enthusiast. Saturday was a great day for Taiwan. Really, the KMT hasn't changed much, not really. They're finding it a bit harder to get away with stuff they used to, but at the core, they operate with the same mindset as they did fifty years ago. And like you, I doubt if they'll ever change. Because to change, they would have to start operating out of principles of justice, human rights, Taiwan's sovereignty, etc. etc.- then they wouldn't be KMT anymore, eh?

Thank you for your support for Taiwan.

(By the way, I'm a Republican, and disagree with your description of Republicans, but hey, we're both pro-Taiwan and anti-China - and I know plenty of other Republicans who are, too.)

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Well, Republican voters come in all stripes so I don't really mean them.

But Republican party platforms don't call for things like equal pay for women (which has been shown to be a problem even when controlling for factors like family leave, child care, time worked and career choices), and promote restricting access to abortion and, depending on the beliefs of the boss, pharmacist etc., in some cases birth control. To me that's anti-woman. I suppose some women might feel it's not, but I really do feel it is.

Republican party platforms are against marriage equality (although they frame it as "traditional marriage"), so they're anti-LGBT. You can't be pro-equal rights if you want to deny equal rights to 10% of the population.

Those are just two examples, and I realize that not everyone who votes Republican necessarily agrees with these two things. That said, voting Republican is sort of a vote for these things by default - I know Libertarians who are quite socially liberal but just want small government and fewer regulations. I don't think that's good economic policy, but there's a good debate to be had there and unlike the above examples, it's not a moral issue (I do think anyone who is against marriage equality lacks morals, and there is no excuse on earth or in heaven that makes it OK, not even 'it's my religion'.) But those folks who vote Republican for economic reasons are still voting in people who want to restrict human rights (i.e. not allowing 10% of the population to marry) and women's reproductive freedom. That's why I find them odious. Not the voters, but the platforms...but the voters, whether they like it or not, are voting for those platforms.

Judy Linton said...

I apologize but I don't have the time to do the topics you mentioned justice. So I'm a bit hesitant to even mention a few quick thoughts. But here they are anyways:
1) In my mind, restricting abortion is not anti-woman, it is the saving of a human life, which may very well be the saving of a female life. So to me it's a human rights issue. Plus, I've met several women who have regretted having an abortion and are haunted by it for life.

2) You mention 'morals' and I'm all for morals. I'm curious as to what you base your morals on. I mean, there are all sorts of belief systems in this world. What's the foundation by which you believe your morals are right and another's wrong?

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

1.) And I believe it is anti-woman, because I don't think a fetus is a baby, and whatever it is (passing through some liminal stages between a living being and an extension of another living being that is not itself alive), it doesn't have the same rights as a human being, and doesn't trump the rights of the pregnant woman. So I don't feel that restricting abortion saves a human life, period.

Besides, restricting abortion isn't going to end abortion. It's just going to make women's lives more difficult, cause women to have unsafe abortions, cause families all sorts of trauma, and doing so severely restricts a woman's health care choices, all for something that is not a life. Not yet.

It can also kill a woman: making it difficult for a woman whose pregnancy puts her life in danger, which many Republicans want to do and I believe GOP platforms don't account for. Some people believe in an exception to this - okay, so, if it's OK to abort a fetus to save the life of the mother, doesn't that prove that the mother's rights outweigh the fetus's, which is not yet a life?

2.) Simple: the right to marry is a human right. There is no belief system that transcends that. The right to marry is not Christian (plenty of non-Christians marry and the institution has been around longer than Christianity), nor does it belong to any one belief system. It's up there with the right to life and liberty, the right to food and shelter, the right to free speech, the right to equal treatment under the law, and the right to self-determination, among others.

So it's not about belief systems, it's about human rights.

If your belief system restricts the right to marry, then your belief system is homophobic. Just as if your belief system calls for treating one race better than another (or one gender better than another), your belief system is racist, or sexist.

You still have the right to your belief system, but it doesn't make it magically not-bigoted. All it means is that you belief something bigoted.

* * *

Even if you disagree, which is your right, I still wouldn't vote Republican because this is what I believe, and I don't want to live in a country where I don't have reproductive freedom and my LGBT friends are discriminated against. I don't want to live in a country where the government doesn't care that pervasive sexism has caused me and other women to be paid less.

I will never be okay with that.

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Plus, on the marriage equality side, I can't think of any good reason to deny that right.

The definition of marriage does not belong to homophobes, nor does it belong to one religion or belief system - it's present in almost all belief systems unless you join a monastic order or something.

So it's not right for one group to get to define what marriage is to everyone.

Just like it's not right for one group to tell everyone that they must believe that a fetus is a life, based on scant scientific evidence.

Liberal beliefs mean you can do what you want: if you don't believe in gay marriage, don't have a gay wedding. If you don't believe in abortion, don't get an abortion. But similarly, you can't tell other people they must abide your beliefs. Conservative beliefs force those beliefs on people who don't agree with them.

It's not like something like murder or theft, where almost everyone agrees it's wrong. Not everyone does (and in fact, most disagree with conservative beliefs in these realms). It's far from a consensus, so there's no basis to take away the rights of some for the satisfaction of others.