The instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves.  -----Buddha's teaching        

With the upcoming Presidential election in Taiwan on January 14, many overenthusiastic voters suffer from insomnia, anxiety, or illusion, collectively called “election syndrome.”Caught specifically during the election season, this disease causes obsessive voters physical and mental disorder. According to psychiatrists, it is hard to dissuade such people from getting too caught up in the election. Tranquilizers may help if the election fever disrupts their normal daily routine to an excessive degree.

This disease can be attributed to human nature. We are made of such stuff as crave for excitement and spectacle, both of which are manifest in the election campaign. To see the opposing candidates fight is a pleasure for some voters. Their stagnant life is ruffled by such a spectacle. At least, they have something to hate. And with something to hate, their life is endowed with the spring of thought and action. The jarring interests, the heated debate, and the denunciation of others’ values arouse excitement among the opposing supporters. They may assemble in crowds to show their worship to the favorite candidate; they may decry, interpret or recite the candidate’s remarks. Somehow, human mind takes a perverse delight in antipathy. Love may turn insipid; pain may be healed by time; hatred alone is immortal! For Taiwanese voters, the sentiment of hatred recurs whenever an election involving the KMT and DPP is held. The election campaign has become a never-failing source of hatred. And the irony is that the zealous voters love it! They find it a remedy for the ennui of their existence; in other words, it saves them from the boredom of life. Yet, these bigoted haters are not brave fighters as they smugly claim themselves to be. They are, in fact, the slender vines which must twist around the sturdy oak simply because they have no sufficient strength to support themselves. How sad they know so little about their weakness! It is the weak mind that should rely on a hero to lend it some luster.  

Another danger about hatred is the unknowing strengthening of one’s folly. Does the denunciation of others’ vices lead to the enhancement of our virtue? Nothing of the kind! In most cases, the more vices we discover in others, the fewer faults we find in ourselves. The spirit of censoriousness, the intolerant watchfulness over the actions of others makes us blind to our own faults. Love of virtue, the assertion of justice, the redress of iniquity---all these political slogans don't help much in amending our own frailties; instead, they end up the ruthless punishment of others’ immorality!

So, while we cannot part with the human essence of hostility and discrimination, we can at least hold the mirror of virtue to reflect our inner self once in a while, to see how similar human folly is despite the opposing political positions!  

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