[EDITORIALS]A swim in a sea of slander

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[EDITORIALS]A swim in a sea of slander

We live in a cesspool of allegations of corruption, irregularities and scandal thrown up by the nation's politicians. It seems that they are out to dent each other, rather than engage in politics, the art of compromise and negotiations. Going by what they say about each other, our politicians not only should forbear to show their faces in public but are worthy of jail time. Should a politician be free from the cloak of corruption, he or she is spun into a descendant of a Japanese collaborator. If the politicians are to be taken at their words, there is not a leader in this country worthy of respect.

We are accustomed to allegations of corruption involving members of the presidential family and senior government officials. We have heard various suspicions about the dominant opposition leader. But a ferocious attack on the opposition by the ruling party spokesman over what happened during evening drinking in New York makes us truly blush.

About 10 days ago, the spokesman, Lee Nak-yon, asserted that Grand National Party legislators had poured alcohol over a female hostess's body during an evening of drinking in New York. The legislators were accompanying their party president, Lee Hoi-chang, on a visit to the United States. One of the Grand Nationals contested Mr. Lee's charge, forcing the spokes-man to tender a letter of apology. This apology should be an example for the perpetually bickering political camps that we can improve the nation's political environment through constructive dialogue. We can only hope a similarly constructive exchange takes place in the dispute over collaborating with Japan.

There is also fierce exchange of slander in the race to win party presidential nominations. These exchanges may well turn all the more vicious as the nomination date approaches. We can no longer afford below-the-belt politics where broadsides are fired and groundless rumors are fanned. If there is credible evidence of politicians' implication in corruption, it should be turned over to investigative authorities. If claims or statements issued in the name of the party or the party spokesman are proved wrong, apologies should be given. Politicians should not hope to hit political pay dirt through slanderous battering of their opponents' image and integrity, which can only bring out public disgust and discontent.

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