[EDITORILAS]An Appeal Against Politics as UsualCardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan held a press conference on the 50th anniversary of his ordination. "At this difficult time, our country is moving toward disruption and confrontation instead of a unified nation," he said. "To political leaders of our country, I want to request that they stop fighting." His request clearly demonstrates the ill condition of our political arena, which has failed to change even after the shocking terrorist attacks in the United States. Cardinal Kim said, "Although press reform is necessary, the current methods are not resulting in positive outcomes." This is critical advice provided by an influential senior figure, which the ruling party must hear.
Recent ideological conflict in our society, which had been triggered by the media tax probes and the problems involving participants at the National Liberation Day celebration in Pyongyang, has grown worse. The ruling and opposition parties, engaged in fierce partisan conflict, have failed to come up with resolutions to the problem, amplifying the crisis. After the coalition between the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats collapsed, politics became even more unstable. Staff changes in the party, government and the Blue House, which failed to reflect public opinion and fell short of meeting public expectations, sapped the administration's confidence. The opposition Grand National Party, concerned with gains it can get from the collapse of the ruling coalition, fails to play the role that goes with the majority party in the National Assembly.
"People no longer want the lip service of insincere talks between the ruling and opposition leaders," Cardinal Kim said. "What they want is a serious meeting of political leaders to cooperate and yield." His comments are an appeal for politicians to change their attitudes to bipartisanism.
Politicians should lead the nation to review the risk management system and create national consensus. That should be the priority for President Kim Dae-jung, whose goal is "politics with people," and the opposition leader, Lee Hoi-chang, whose goal is "politics with its priority on people." That is also why the two leaders must hurry to sit at the summit table as soon as possible.