Monday, May 18, 2015

"We might actually lose, let's finally do a few good things"

Just a quickie here as I'm pretty busy this week.

Anyone ever notice that when the KMT has the presidency or is reasonably confident of keeping it, that they basically sit around with their thumbs up their butts, not doing jack squat for the country for years - or when they do do something, it's for their own benefit and tends to hurt, rather than be good for, Taiwan? (ECFA, I'm looking at you).

I mean, every party does this to some extent - if you think you're going to lose, you rush to pass politically popular or at least progressive legislation in the hopes that that will turn the tide somewhat before you lose your chance to take credit for it. Before that point, it's far more likely you'll milk the system to your benefit rather than do much good. It just feels more pronounced with the KMT.

In the very late '90s, there was a rush to pass a lot of women's rights legislation - if my memory serves, laws regarding abortion, divorce (though those were only changed to a degree), gender discrimination etc. were passed by the Lee administration...

...just before the KMT lost to Chen Shui-bian.

And now, we have the Ministry of the Interior starting programs to help the children of the children of Southeast Asian immigrants learn their native tongues, and to cap the work week at 40 hours. Both politically popular, or at least progressive (though as I've said, the work week cap lacks teeth and has some problematic language vis-a-vis gender roles), changes that don't remind people how disastrous the KMT has been in dealing with economic stagnation and Taiwan's relationship with China. All things designed to make the KMT look good. I'm sure they'll be trotted out in some sort of bluesplaining speech about how the KMT is the only choice for Taiwan because they know how to rule, or something.

It's not that these things aren't good, just as the women's rights legislation of the late 1990s was good. Helping children of immigrants know and understand their culture is a positive thing and can help Taiwan become a bit less insular vis-a-vis the foreign labor it needs.

It's feels so politically stage-managed to all happen just as we start hearing the first twinges of election season. And I know, it seems like I can't just let the KMT have a good thing, or do a good thing.

And you're right. I can't. If they'd been passing good legislation like this - even better if it had teeth - throughout their reign as Supreme Lords of Cross-Strait Relations (because to hell what the people of Taiwan think once you're elected, apparently), and really worked to do something about, or even showed that they cared about, domestic issues such as treatment of immigrant labor, the over-examining of students, wage stagnation, marriage equality and women's issues, I might be kinder in my assessment.

But I'm not willing to wait 8 years a pop for changes to be made (or 16 years in this case). Do it throughout your presidency, or your gestures are worthless, GTFO, buh-bye.

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