&#91EDITORIALS&#93Weeding out the garden

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Weeding out the garden

President Roh Moo-hyun’s “weed” theory, which is included in his e-mail message forwarded to five million people, has drawn a strong reaction from politicians. President Roh classified some politicians as weeds to be removed: those who promote the narrow interests of certain groups, those who try to delay reform, those who stimulate regionalism and those who use national security for political purposes. Grand Nationals, United Liberal Democrats and even some Millennium Democrats reacted strongly to his message. They suspect that there is an underlying political intention and that hidden preparations for something are under way.
The old guard of the MDP claims that, in order to facilitate the launch of a new party, the president defined as “weeds” anyone who opposes the formation of that new party. The Grand Nationals interpret the message as a signal to civic groups to launch a movement to blacklist certain politicians in next year’s elections. The Blue House says politicians with guilty consciences are overreacting.
We are not interested in the political spin that the parties are putting on the matter. But we do question whether the president’s behavior is appropriate. First of all, is it right to classify politicians in such a way? Is it right to classify them as reformers or dinosaurs, regionalists or nationalists? In the real world, all politicians are a little of both. Notwithstanding that reality, if someone names them as either good or evil, it is done with the presumption that evil should be driven out and supporters are crusaders against evil.
That is a rabble-rousing approach. Legislators, whether they are medicinal plants or weeds, are elected by the people and represent their constituents at the National Assembly. If the president sends out a message saying that some of them are worthy of being preserved and others should be uprooted, he is trampling on the people’s right to choose their representatives. We suspect that the message is intended to mobilize the masses and reduce the power of the National Assembly. President Roh made an unnecessary and indiscreet remark.
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