[EDITORIALS]Drunkenness Is No Excuse for Abuse

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[EDITORIALS]Drunkenness Is No Excuse for Abuse

Members of the Millennium Democratic Party are apt to be rough of speech toward the press after the recent media tax probes. We even feel an air of imminent violence, hostility and hatred pervading their words.

As if adding fuel to the fire, Choo Mi-ae, a ruling-party lawmaker, heaped cruel and obscene abuse on a particular newspaper and the leader of the opposition party. We feel terribly sad about the incident. As a core member of the bloc of junior lawmakers in the party, and as one of few female lawmakers with a bright future, her speech and behavior were not rational.

Her attitude after the event was reported was even more disappointing. Let us assume that she made a drunken slip. If she was a politician of sound judgment, she should have made an apology to the president of the opposition party, the newspaper and the reporters immediately after she sobered up. Most people always apologize on the day after making a mistake while in a drunken state.

We have not yet heard, however, that Ms. Choo made a personal apology. Instead, she allowed her office to release an apology. Some observers including her own constituents, had applauded the spirit and courage Ms. Choo displayed when junior lawmakers of the ruling party urged their seniors to step down. Now, how can they possibly explain her recent speech and behavior to their children?

The ruling party went even further. Instead of offering an official apology, it was too busy trying to protect its lawmaker. Kim Joong-kwon, the party chairman, merely advised lawmakers and officials to use prudence in their words and behavior; nothing concrete has been done.

A party spokesman argued - unreasonably - that "Freedom of the press has fully bloomed when newspapers can freely print personal remarks uttered in a drunken state." He also insisted that the event took place at a casual "wine and dine" with reporters, not during an official briefing session. Regardless of what the occasion was, it is common sense that a politician assume a circumspect manner before six or seven reporters, who represent public opinion. At least, she should have not used abusive language.

The ruling party and Ms. Choo should make an apology as soon as possible for the well being of the nation and for the edification of our children.
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