&#91EDITORIALS&#93Respect must be earned

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[EDITORIALS]Respect must be earned

President Roh Moo-hyun expects to adopt a stronger government. At a news conference held Monday to mark his 100th day in office today, Mr. Roh stressed “dialogue and compromise within the boundaries of law and order,” indicating a shift. It is fortunate that the government, though belatedly, is acknowledging the limits of stressing dialogue and compromise, only to be pushed into confusion by the masses.
But if the government’s new resolve is anything like the persecution of corruption and illegalities of nonaffiliates, as committed by the previous administration, it will be turning a corner only to face a dead end.
What prompts such concern is the impression that we get from the Roh Moo-hyun administration. The administration does not seem to grasp the cause of chaos created in state affairs. “If I were another president, you would not have reported everything without filtering,” said Mr. Roh of his so-called “inflammatory” language. This remark leads us to believe that administration officials are trying to find the reason for poor performance -- from the outside. That sentiment seems widely prevalent in government. A government official close to the latest decision showed an inclination to take a hard-line in enforcing law and order, and said, “The administration has never demonstrated its power since coming to office.” Does that mean the administration might yet decide to go after political enemies? We hope not.
The reason an administration is not respected is not because of lack of power or the public’s lack of fear. It is because policy has been made and implemented impromptu and flip-flop -- regardless of law, principle or system. A group of people came forward to defend a close aide of Mr. Roh, who is facing allegations of receiving money, calling him a “political prisoner of consciousness.”
How legitimate can the government be when it covers up suspicions of land transaction of Mr. Roh’s acquaintances. A strong government can be built only by upholding laws and principles. The new government stance should stem from a thorough look at the administration’s past 100 days.
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