[OUTLOOK]Salvation or doomsday?I had numb legs and aching hips, so the doctor ordered a magnetic resonance imaging scan of my vertebrae. The doctor said that damaged cartilage in the fourth and fifth vertebrae had irritated the nerves in my legs.
I received lots of advice and expert opinions; I read a recent article in the New York Times that said a lot of surgery on the back was useless. I reached the conclusion that if I don’t have the surgery, standing on my hands would be the most effective preventative and long-term treatment.
Having back pain is natural because we, animals with four feet, stand on two feet. The advice that I should try walking like a bear coincides with this idea. Hand-standing is a basic position in abdominal breathing or yoga. Hanging upside down is also an important treatment for blood circulation. So, I decided to do handstands frequently.
The constitution of a country is not much different from the human body. When a central force of a society is in place for a long time, all kinds of diseases develop. The collapse of the Grand National Party, a central political force in our society, seems not different from the fall of a person who brags about his health without taking preventative measures and without knowing that a serious illness began to develop long ago.
Is the Grand National Party the only case? The mainstream of our social leadership, which is well-educated and is faring well, and people who are ideologically aligned with a conservative political party, feel overwhelmed by futility; the world has changed overnight.
But it hasn’t. It has changed gradually and will keep changing, but the mainstream and the conservative force just couldn’t sense the continued gradual change.
At 3 p.m. on the day when the impeachment bill was passed, 150,000 Internet users clicked on an article “The Grand National Party and the Millennium Democratic Party snap up the bait thrown by the president,” by Gong Seo-hwan on the JoongAng Ilbo’s Web page, and numerous replies were posted. Mr. Gong predicted that the situation would be turbulent because the president, determined to be impeached as a campaign strategy, had criticized the opposition parties in a press conference. The opposition snapped at the bait.
A heated discussion followed over whether there was conspiracy or not. Citizens were more acutely aware of the political situation than politicians, and their pro and con comments were as fierce as a civil war.
The mainstream of our society has been arrogant. It ignored the sorrow of the sidelined. It just blamed them for being radical without providing outlets to express their desire for change. It should not rebuke candlelight demonstrators at Gwanghwamun as a mobilized mob but apologize and reflect, seeing them as the condensation of discontent and complaint grown amid the indifference, negligence, and arrogance of the mainstream and conservative forces.
If the Grand National Party had shown any intention earlier to move its headquarters to a tent, it would not face its present ruin.
To turn the center into the margin, the mainstream into the non-mainstream, and the conservative into the liberal, all central forces with vested interests in our society should wake up.
When the Constitutional Court rules against the impeachment and when the ruling party gets over half of the Assembly seats, what will become of the non-mainstream, marginal, and liberal force? Some groups might act like the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in China, who cheered for the success of the civil revolution and strutted along the streets with bloody eyes, thinking that the world had turned upside down. The worst scenario imaginable is that the president, confident again, would turn to a one-party dictatorship. We would be again engulfed in the uncertainty that the times might revert to the age of madness.
Among the democracy fighters, the “386 generation” may have a heart of ice, secretly sharpening the sword of hatred and vengeance against the mainstream. Some may dream of revolution and long for a coup d’etat. To turn the margin into the center, the non-mainstream into the mainstream, and the liberal into the conservative, they should withhold the sword of hatred and revenge and change coldheartedness into warmheartedness. The marginal, non-mainstream, and liberal forces should also do a hand-stand to be the center, mainstream, and conservative force.
The people are like water. Water can make a boat float but can also overturn it when it is roiled. As the arrogance of the conservatives cause angry waves, the hatred and coldness of the progressives may create unpredictable waves. When the legislative elections bring the golden division of Assembly seats, our society can have a strong back that prevents arrogance and mollifies hatred.
Such a strong back will strengthen our physical and national power.
* The writer is the executive editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kwon Young-bin