[EDITORIALS]Vote by logic, not emotion

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[EDITORIALS]Vote by logic, not emotion

The day of decision has arrived. Today, 35 million Korean voters will elect the 16th president of the Republic of Korea. It is not a ceremonial procedure in which we choose a president who will simply fill the office, following his predecessor. This is the first election of the 21st century, and it has the historic significance that it will play a decisive role for the future of the people and the country.

All past presidential elections had their own historic meaning. Still, we think more about historic significance for this election because the situation both in and out of the country is urgent. Some negative aspects of our society were exposed in the course of the campaign, and domestic as well as international issues that we have to face soon even make us feel desperate.

This election started with the expectation that the "three Kims" era would end. By clearing the remains of "three Kims" politics, which had been created by the democratization forces that fought against the authoritarian military regimes, a turning point for politics in a new era will be created. There lies the historic meaning of this election.

Politics based on regional support or cliques and tainted with corruption scandals involving family members of the president -- typical of three-Kim-style politics -- should be ended. At the threshold of the 21st century, the decision we make today will be an historic choice. However, the evil of regionalism, the worst vice practiced by three-Kim-era politics, still exists. The voters should set an example by breaking regional ties through their votes.

A presidential election is a way the voters evaluate and judge the current administration. The merits and demerits of the regime should be judged by votes. But in this election, weird though it seems, there is no political party, there are only candidates. We find the reason in the introduction of a new campaign method, election by media, which placed more emphasis on image than policy platforms, and appealed to feelings more than logic and reason. On top of this, the Internet campaign, which has taken its place as a new campaign technique, damaged the election by spreading black propaganda.

Some candidates made pork-barrel pledges, changed their words and copied other candidates' policies. These political disguises and manipulations of public opinion by appealing to voters' emotions have created confusion among voters and even led them to be indifferent to the North Korean nuclear threat. Moreover, some impure elements created public demands for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and fanned anti-American sentiment by using the deaths of two girls killed by a U.S. Army vehicle. The situation is threatening to the U.S.-Korea alliance and the security of the Korean Peninsula. In the midst of such turmoil, the basic purpose of an election, that the voting is for the evaluation of the merits and demerits of current regime, is lost.

It is good that the participation of younger voters, who make up almost half the electorate, will play a decisive role in the election. We urge our young voters to make their decision following the dictates of reason. It is not desirable that voting be decided by emotion. If state affairs are taken care of by the president and his followers, it is clear what the voters should take into consideration when they make their decision. They need wisdom to decide whether the candidates have the capability and qualifications to lead a stable and progressive administration, what vision and policy they have and whether they are supported by a strong team of advisers.

We have spent a long time in the flood of pledges and information. We might be influenced by unproven pork-barrel pledges and manipulated images of candidates. Today, we have to decide the leader who will take on responsibility for the fate of our country. Let's make sure that future historians will write that the decision of 2002 was the right decision, based on reason and rationality.
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