[EDITORIALS]Good reason to be angryOur Open Party’s leader, Chung Dong-young, told a Web news outlet, “It would be all right if those in their 60s and 70s do not vote.” This is an absurd remark.
Although Mr. Chung apologized publicly yesterday, the furor is not going to end easily. We can easily find problems in his perceptions.
“They (those in their 60s and 70s) do not necessarily have to decide our future,” he said. Of course, an election is important and affects the future of our country. But a statement that seniors do not need to vote does not make sense. Regardless of age, eligible voters can exercise their voting rights and elect their representatives.
Mr. Chung and Our Open Party tried to get around the problem by saying it was a mistake. Looking at the context of the remark, the excuse seems doubtful. Before and after the remark, he strongly encouraged young people to vote.
“For those in their 20s and 30s, as the decision taken now can influence our future, it is to their interest to take part in voting,” Mr. Chung said.
Mr. Chung’s remarks arose from the desire for more votes by young people and fewer votes from seniors.
According to several polls, most young people support Our Open Party, but seniors do not. His comments were an attempt to encourage different generations to oppose each other. Korea is a nation already suffering from divisions of region, ideology and class.
Our Open Party is a ruling party and is expected to win the coming elections by a wide margin, according to polls. It is not understandable that Our Open Party would try to win more votes by deepening generational gaps in our society.
The isolation of our elderly population is already a serious problem. Because our society is rapidly aging, it is urgent to upgrade welfare programs for seniors.
Nonetheless, a ruling party leader made remarks that politically degraded elderly people, and the party officials responded to criticism by asking what he had done wrong.
As the remark became controversial, Mr. Chung went to a meeting place for seniors and bowed on his knees. He also asked all Our Open Party candidates to go to seniors’ associations and make apologies. Soothing offended seniors, however, may not be that easy.