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United Daily News: An administration forgets silent majority
Central News Agency
2014-03-26 11:51 AM
One of the major insufficiencies with President Ma Ying-jeou's approach to resolving the Legislative Yuan protest is his failure to invoke the voices of the "silent majority" who support the trade-in-services pact with China. Media focus can blow situations out of proportion, singling out a few thousand protesters while several million other voices become just background noise. Opposition to the services pact has been outspoken since it was signed last June, but where are the voices that support it? Observers of Ma's presidency have likely noticed that he gives more attention to his opponents than his supporters. As public policy affects the lives of every citizen, there is nothing wrong with that approach. But when a group of students occupies the Legislature claiming to represent the people, the government should focus its attention on the people who do support its policies. Imagine how effective it would have been for Premier Jiang Yi-huah, when he met with student protesters over the weekend, to use the strength of public opinion: "For everyone one of you here, there are two or more people across the country who support the pact." While some social issues can claim a high level of moral consensus, like the death of Army corporal Hung Chung-chiu last July from mistreatment, others like nuclear energy and trade pacts are less clear when it comes to who is in the right. That is why protesters emphasize their roles as mothers, as students, to try and gain the moral high ground in matters that do not inherently have one. Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah are academics who lack a complete understanding of the diversity of opinions in this country. They see any challengers as representatives of the people with the authority to set the agenda, setting the government on the defensive -- effectively letting a small number of people take over the government while the majority is overlooked. Politicians should be responsible for collecting valid opinions from the public and putting them through discussion and the democratic process. Ma's failure to do this goes to show why so many consider him a weak leader. (Editorial abstract -- March 26, 2014)

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