[VIEWPOINT]The feast continuesNow the feast is over.
Despite the changes, the legislative elections were a feast of sovereign rights.
As the saying goes, those who rise are bound to fall, and there was talk of a resurrection of ruinous regionalism, empty emotional populism and tactics of anti-reform politicians. But in this case we saw history in the elections, gave conscientious thought to the vote and exercised our rights with dignity. As everyone cannot be the same, each saw differently, worried differently and voted differently. So not many people will be fully satisfied with the whole political picture as the result of the elections.
But the actors who produced this result are us. Not with a resigned heart but with dreams for the future, we should accept the result of the elections humbly, whether it suits each individual’s aims or not, because our subjective choice is more important than anything.
But this is not to say that everything is over. Because the feast is over, each person has to clean up the tables and put the chairs away. But if we believe that our choice was truly based on our resolution, we should understand that our new role begins now. Political nihilism says that politicians are people who say they will build a bridge even where there is no stream, and so is a blind excessive confidence that since we elected new representatives, they will automatically do well.
Max Weber said, “Politics is the task of making holes on a solid board with passion and observation, with great effort, little by little, and together. Those who can shout, ‘Even so, we will try again’ and are never frustrated when the world seems outrageously shabby and foolish compared to what they are going to offer ― only these people can be politicians.” Let’s change the place of politicians with voters.
When we have become voters who make holes “little by little” on the board that obstructs progress toward a better world, “together” with “the representatives” that we selected with passion and observation, then, we can at last make the significance of subjective choice complete. The significance of an election does not end with our role of selecting someone as a lawmaker. If we feel that we made a wrong choice, we should put pressure on the lawmaker, find out his problems and reprimand him with even greater passion and observation.
If there is a leaking gourd dipper, let’s plug it, and if there is a partially broken gourd dipper, let’s mend it. If there is no hope in spite of all that, let’s replace it the next time.
“For all that, we will try again.” This is what we need to say now. Progress is always promised to a nation that can say “for all that” or “nonetheless” with unfading and persistent passion. Our power and hope comes from ourselves, if we can say, “In spite of that, we will try again.”
What is writing history now? The driving force for our society to produce a rapid change in the new century has derived from the dynamism of a new culture. Look at the wonderful dynamism of overcoming the uniform values held by the older generation as our society has become more democratic. Such dynamism can be also found in the revolution of the Internet, the explosion of feminism, the sharing of various cultural codes, development of all kinds of proactive and creative software for life. This dynamism of a new culture enters ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not, and makes all of us actors of social change. It is a matter of time for the old political arena, which has only tricks and tactics, to sink.
The question is whether our point of view and methods of managing life are changing in a desirable direction as much as we produce the change.
Do you want politics to change? If so, the answer is obvious: Before politics changes, we have to change ourselves genuinely, both inside and out. We have to watch our own corruption with the same eye that we watch the corruption of politicians. Without these efforts, all reforms and changes will diminish to mere ideas.
Corrupt people are bound to produce a great number of corrupt politicians. As we put an end to the feast of the will of the people, we should “nevertheless” continue to hand down our undying passion about our new history with the premise that each of us changes in order to prepare a more beautiful, abundant, and new feast table for our nation. In this sense, the legislative elections are not over yet.
* The writer is a novelist. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Park Bum-shin