I have to say that this discussion didn't quite go as I anticipated. I was surprised that most of the hardcore vocal supporters of Taiwan independence simply begged off. While vehemently supporting a DPP electoral victory because of the TI issue, they seem quite unsure of what they want to happen after the DPP actually comes to power. I suspect that if the DPP really does gain full power, quite a few will be on the first plane out of here. But I could be wrong.
Faced with the uncomfortable possibility that achieving independence might require everyone to personally pick up a gun and go to war (with much likelihood that Taiwan would lose), only one person here expressed any willingness to do so.
There were some opinions that we need to wait for China to collapse before Taiwan independence can be achieved. That is probably realistic, but we may have to wait a long time. The PRC's imminent demise has been predicted repeatedly ever since 1949 - you can grow old and die waiting for that.
I wasn't surprised by Hartzell's argument because he's stated it before. But I think it's wholly unrealistic. Trying to achieve independence for Taiwan via lawsuits in a US courtroom - well, good luck with that. No disrespect intended though. Continue plugging away with that, and let us know when you find a US court that will hear the case.
I can't totally agree with Betelnut's assertion that the DPP is essentially doomed to remain forever out of power. In theory, the KMT could remain in power forever with ease, if they would actually do something to control their party's corruption and tackle the issue of worsening economic inequality. People vote KMT over DPP mainly because they think the KMT will do a better job of keeping them safe (from war and poverty). There's probably not much doubt that the KMT will keep them safer from war, but increasing economic hardship and almost continuous corruption scandals pushes a lot of voters into the DPP camp. Probably the only reason why the DPP doesn't win is that people still remember what a jerk Ah-bien was. But memories of that fade over time. And do remember that a third party (ie James Soong, the PFP) can rake-off enough votes from the KMT to help the DPP to victory, as in 2000.
I should add that the real DPP faithful (that would include many foreigners here) manage to put both security and economics out of their mind and concentrate on Taiwanese nationalism. Fortunately, the majority of voters haven't fallen for that yet. Could happen though - flag-waving nationalism has widespread appeal almost anywhere in the world. Plenty of pointless wars have been fought over flags and national anthems.
I promised in my original post to reveal my own position after hearing from others. Well, I'm a big supporter of maintaining the status quo, which is actually a majority position among most Taiwanese. Continue the polite fiction of the ROC and the 1992 Consensus. Fiction it may be, but it's worked so far. Why should I give a damn if they call this place the ROC rather than the ROT? Nor does the mere existence of a Sun Yat-sen Memorial in Taipei, or his picture on the money, cause me to lose any sleep at night. I am similarly uninterested in what is the official national anthem or the flag (though I admit, a bit obnoxious of the KMT to use their party's flag as the national flag).
But the big "what if" - the DPP gains power, declares the ROT, China hits us first with economic sanctions, leads to a shooting war eventually. Am I out of here, or not? Answer is "not." I'll stay, come what may. America will run in the opposite direction and Taiwan will almost certainly lose. History is what it is: brutal.