[EDITORIALS]Words of wisdom for usThirteen former prime ministers made a public appeal yesterday asking for all parts of society to respond maturely to the events surrounding the impeachment of the president. This is the first time that former prime ministers have expressed a common view on a subject. Views of the impeachment vary widely, of course; that is only natural in a liberal democratic society. But the differences must not lead to stark division of public opinion. It is worth taking into account the heartfelt advice of these former prime ministers.
In their public statement, the prime ministers made some important points. They called for acting President Goh Kun to oversee the general elections smoothly, to enforce the law strictly and to maintain public order. They asked President Roh Moo-hyun and politicians to seek national stability modestly. They demanded that public officials maintain political neutrality and for political parties and civic groups not to damage the national identity. They implored the people to refrain from taking actions driven by emotion.
These may all seem like textbook entreaties but they cannot be ignored. If the confrontation over the impeachment is left neglected, it could eventually shake the very fundamentals of our nation. Regardless of the pros and cons of impeachment, regardless of political fractions, these entreaties must be accepted.
Looking back at our constitutional history, our nation has gone through many upheavals. As a result, the leadership of the nation is full of scars. There are not many elders who are worth respecting. Nevertheless, these former prime ministers have served our nation’s development. Considering their age and social status, they are not in a position to seek authority or elevation of their positions. They seek no glory in what they do.
Mr. Roh was impeached 18 days ago. It is high time that indignant emotions give way to rationality. It is unseemly to carry on with candlelight vigils and other mass rallies. It is not right to exhaust our national energy in an overheated debate over the impeachment.
We hope that the former prime ministers’ appeal will be a turning point for coexistence instead of conflict. Political groups should meet and talk, as the prime ministers did.
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