[EDITORIALS]Crocodile tears

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[EDITORIALS]Crocodile tears

Political leaders are hurrying to show their faces at the sites of the disaster left by Typhoon Rusa.

Both the Grand National Party and the Millennium Democratic Party are calling for a speedy supplemental budget draft and have promised to start special disaster committees in the National Assembly to plan relief measures for the damage caused by the flood.

But what they are doing seems hollow and contrived.

The public will not easily be convinced of the politicians' sudden turn to compassion after months of wallowing in political fighting. The politicians left the impression that they came to the disaster-stricken areas merely because they were afraid of criticism if they did not. After all, these are the politicians who heckled and booed one another over the proposal to dismiss the minister of justice while the typhoon raged through Korea.

The people are thoroughly tired of the fuss over allegations that somebody's son paid his way out of military service, the dismissal of the minister of justice and parliamentary confirmation of the next prime minister.

Neither the Grand National Party boasting of its majority in the National Assembly nor the Millennium Democratic Party racking its collective brain in an effort to use the draft-dodging allegations in its presidential election strategy seems to give any hope to the people.

Politicians should recognize that they had been engaged in an unproductive and hostile political competition for too long, while outside one of the worst disasters that has struck the country occurred.

They should realize that part of the suffering and desperation the flood victims feel is due to their insensitivity to the welfare of the people. It is now time to return to politics that put the people first.

It is time to go back to the fundamentals of politics, which is to help people, especially those who most need help.

Above all, it is time to restore the framework of the nation's administration to a "conversation mode" and avoid using announcements of flood relief programs as election campaign promises.

The partisan fight over the dismissal of the justice minister and the draft-dodging allegations must be moderated. Leaders of the two parties should work together to come up with a flood relief program. That is the primary duty of the regular National Assembly session that will soon convene.

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