[EDITORIALS]Dirty words, dirty politics

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[EDITORIALS]Dirty words, dirty politics

The National Assembly is being ruined. The verbal attacks and curses aimed at lawmakers of an opposing party have gone beyond decency. "A lunatic," "a criminal to be hacked to pieces," "a rag picker" are heard on the floor. Legislators also do not hesitate to use words that can be heard in street fights and even the emotionally charged insulting language used during the ideological struggles of the 1980s. As the presidential election approaches, both sides express their contempt of the other and heckle without restraint. Middle school students who attend National Assembly sessions to watch democracy in action are learning that it is a place of abuse, not of governance. How can politicians hold up their heads in front of our younger generation?

The problem is that the heated rivalry during the presidential campaign has moved to the National Assembly floor. Because of the mood of "you have to die so I can live," they heap suspicions on the rival presidential candidates' heads and try to make the suspicions grow.

The floor leaders of both parties should be enforcing the dignity of legislators on their members. But to the contrary, they are encouraging the use of vulgar and obscene language against their rivals. They are not interested in affairs of state, but only in smear campaigns against their rivals, hiding behind their legislative immunity to protect themselves from lawsuits.

When Grand National Party members raised in the Assembly their suspicions that the Blue House lobbied to get the Nobel Peace Prize for President Kim, they spoke as if the suspicions were already proven. When the Millennium Democrats asked about secret funds for Lee Hoi-chang from a construction company, they presented the charges as fact. When allegations start to fly, good politics goes out the window.

The National Assembly will soon be known as a house of slander. The speaker and vice speakers of the Assembly should take public criticism seriously. The dignity and the role of the legislature should be upheld even during elections. The lawmakers should remember that the oath they took was to be faithful to the people's interests, not to the interests of their party's presidential candidate. Politicians should hang their heads, apologize and punish the slanderers in their midst.
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