[FOUNTAIN]Voters plant seed of hope, not despair

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[FOUNTAIN]Voters plant seed of hope, not despair

At first, there was no such thing as a road. Roads developed along the paths people chose to walk on. The first person to walk in an area left a faint trail and others followed the path. Then a road became apparent. Hope is similar. People began to have faith, and hope was born. Hope became a reality when people believed in it. So we call hope an invisible reality.
Yesterday, we Koreans voted for the 299 members of the National Assembly. It was the day on which we chose our hopes. We believed that making the best choice was the only hope. If we believed in hope, elected lawmakers would become our hope. If we believed in despair, they would become our despair.
In the 13 days of the campaign, the key word was tears. Some cried to repent for past corruption. It was a tearful appeal for one more chance. Some tears failed to read the public sentiment. A politician bowed after every three steps and struggled to be reborn. Tears also followed arrogance and intemperate speech. A politician stepped down and asked for forgiveness by fasting.
In the past, there had never been an election of tears. No politicians would be so humble and begging. Election campaigns had always been filled with pride, achievement, promises and shouts. The politics of despair was born from arrogant elections. Now we see the politics of hope.
The citizens have grown from observers to participants. We have grown calm. As we looked down on the kneeling politicians, each voter judged who was telling the truth, who was an able legislator, and whether there was a better candidate.
Another hopeful sign is the disappearance of envelopes filled with money. Restaurants were not filled with people enjoying free lunches from the candidates.
Voters ignored malicious negative campaigns. There were fewer mobilized crowds and more sincere audiences at rallies. No public power was abused and violence has disappeared. We have witnessed a revolution in election culture.
The seed of hope has been planted. Hope will produce fruits in the soil of faith. The soil is the citizens. If the citizens don’t believe in hope, the plant will dry up. We have to love and take care of the plant of hope. Yesterday was the day we chose our hope, and hope began at the voting booth.


by Chun Young-gi

The writer is deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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