[NOTEBOOK]Persevering in defiance of crisis

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[NOTEBOOK]Persevering in defiance of crisis

If a person struggles to live that person will die. But if the person is determined to die, a way to live will arise.

Such a theory can be found in religious scriptures and the autobiography of Admiral Yi Sun-shin (1545-1598), who fought the Japanese invasion during the Joseon Dynasty.

Even former President Kim Yong-sam spoke of accepting crisis as opportunity, and President Kim Dae-jung during his years as the leader of the opposition party often mentioned this when he ran into a wall.

The Millennium Democratic Party should ruminate on the idea. At first, the political party was split between those who supported its presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun and those who were against him. Now the party is even more divided, with members pursuing different interests and outlooks in the presidential race.

Meanwhile, several pro-Roh legislators are saying the party should unite under either Mr. Roh or Chung Mong-joon, who also joined the presidential race. They say the party should back the candidate who garners the most public support by the end of October or the beginning of November.

Whether this is the result of regional rivalry or part of the nature of the party, the Millennium Democratic Party's current situation will only disappoint those who have supported it. There is no future if the situation continues.

Needless to say, it is the party's objective to take control of state affairs, so it is natural to seek every means of winning the presidential election.

Some Gwangju residents, who took pride in promoting Mr. Roh during the party's primary election, are saying that Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung should unite. Some even say they would root for the candidate who could beat the Grand National Party's presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang.

The Millennium Democratic Party's legislators are shaken by such responses from Gwangju residents, since they have been the party's foundation and its loyal supporters.

However, trying to change the party's presidential candidate, who was appointed through the first-ever held primary elections, cannot be justified because of such a response.

If the party continues to swap candidates after the election, perhaps the Millennium Democratic Party will collapse without a trace.

Mr. Chung recently said that Korean politics puts too much emphasis on moral obligations. But a statesman without such a duty is merely a politician and a political party without justification will burst like a bubble.

Pragmatism is merely the uttering of compliments when there are no moral obligations to mobilize.

The current disturbance in the Millennium Democratic Party is attributed to the party leadership's greed for party hegemony and their fear of losing political power. The MDP legislators seem to be struggling for survival because they fear their scandals and money-grubbing will be disclosed and that they will be unable to regain power once it is taken away.

The recent comment by one of the party's lawmakers, Chun Yong-taek, that he would immigrate to another country if Mr. Lee were elected as president, clearly shows the mental state of the Millennium Democratic Party's lawmakers.

The party has inherited a lot of democratic legacies, having established a true transfer of power and having vented the grudges of neglected regions: Gwangju and the Jeolla provinces. In addition, the party has championed democracy over dictatorship.

Despite the party's disarray, some 20 percent of the public still support it. However, the party will have to burden the evaluation of the Kim Dae-jung administration.

Yet the party should be able to appeal openly to the public for support by addressing Mr. Roh's ability to run the country and his promise that he will amend the wrongdoings of the current administration.

And if the party loses, it should be determined to take up the role of the opposition party.

If the party continues to support good causes, it may hold as many seats in the National Assembly as it does today. It may even become the party with the most seats in the 2004 general election because our people have seldom shown generosity to the ruling party.


The writer is the political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Du-woo

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