Beyond the dichotomous thinking: What US can learn from recent Taipei election experience

I have a dream……What if, an independent US candidate, who truly represents the majority of American, wins next major election? Other than Blue and Red, is it possible to have another color, such as Green or Yellow, on the US political map?

The majority of Americans say the major two parties don’t represent them. The two parties, to various degrees, have not been able to serve the majority.

The process of election is not necessarily a rational thinking process. It was full of fear-based, anxiety-provoking advertisement, specially crafted to stimulate our “limbic (more primitive) brain” with the money the two parties collected from Cooperates.

Taiwan just finished its election yesterday. (It’s always interesting to see that Taiwan and US have the same election cycle. Yes, so the 2016 is the next round of presidential election for both countries).

In the Mayor race in Taipei City (the capital of Taiwan), the independent candidate won the election by 200,000+ differences. Yes, he refused to join the Blue (KMT) or Green (DPP) parties. Most interestingly, this candidate, Mr. Ko, was a head surgeon and a professor in Taiwan University Hospital Trauma Center until this February. Yes, he had no previous political background. Yet, a physician with the heart of saving people and the rational mind to make critical decisions during complicated surgery, may actually posses more leadership quality than a savvy politician.

So, once Mr. Ko decided to become the candidate in Jan 2014, he went public to look for campaign staff. This was his first step in changing the election and political culture – Giving people back the power.

A lot of Americans are upset by the 2010 Citizen United case, which opened up the unrestricted election expenditure by for-profit corporations, labor unions, and other associations. It is hard to change the Supreme Court decision; however, from this recent Taipei election experience, we witnessed how easy for the general public to ask the politicians to change their behaviors – make the campaign process transparent and democratic.

The Taipei mayor candidate, Mr. Ko, posted his campaign fundraising record online (as well as his income list in the past, so he can show that he never received any donation before he started this campaign). Also, Mr. Ko closed the campaign account for receiving more donation when he decided that there was enough money for campaign.

Yes, people can’t stop cooperates to donate more money than the general publics; however, people can ask for transparency. Such transparency not only protects the general publics, it also protects the candidates/politicians from becoming the puppets.

I am not a US citizen. In this country, I am just a registered legal Alien (from another planet? LOL), who doesn’t have any right to vote. Why do I care about the democracy in the US? Because I am a psychotherapist.

As a psychologist, I know that the dichotomous thinking (black or white thinking) is the root of depression and anxiety. During the depressed and anxious state of mind, we can only see the world through the colored lens – life or death, win or lose, Blue or Red……

If the larger political system is permeating the dichotomous thinking constantly to every American’s mind, there is no way we can end the suffering of mental illness. If most US people are suffering from the depressed/anxious dichotomous thinking mind, the foundation of democracy may be lost within decades.

The new Hunger Game movie is out during this Thanksgiving holiday. I surely don’t want see our grandkids generation to live in the Hunger Game.


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