[EDITORIALS]Potty mouths prevailingThese days, the language skills and expressions used by the so-called leaders of our society leave much to be desired. There is not the slightest hint of respect towards the other side, while words more suited for street gangs are pouring out of the mouths of our leaders. It all started when President Roh used an inappropriate expression at a meeting with prosecutors at the beginning of last year, and the degree of such foul language has gotten out of control. Politicians and leaders of our society are responsible for creating a stable society and making the people comfortable. The use of harsh language by our leaders is creating an unhealthy atmosphere.
Recently, Kim Keun-tae, a lawmaker of the Uri Party, provoked the president by saying, “Let’s remove our military rank insignia” and discuss the issue of revealing the construction cost of apartments, which was the party’s election pledge but was later denied by Mr. Roh as not being a government policy. Yu Shi-min, another Uri Party lawmaker and a close associate to Mr. Roh, retorted by saying, “remove your three-star rank insignia and talk to me.” As this recent case demonstrates, political debates are focusing more on meaningless harsh vocabulary rather than the real problems.
Moon Hee-sang, a lawmaker of the Uri Party used also unrefined language when he commented on the ruling party’s request for a regular meeting with the president. He said in a sarcastic tone that the request was similar to that of asking to be breast-fed by the president.
The reply by Shin Ki-nam, the chairman of the Uri Party, was also less than desirable, as he repeated the exact expression used by Mr. Moon and said, “We are not going there to be breast-fed.” Prosecutor-General Song Kwang-soo’s recent comment that he would “cut his throat” was also quite vulgar.
People who use such language may think that they are practicing sharp communications skills; but a certain level of dignity is required. Sarcasm and jest will only make the political culture more foul than it already is. In an atmosphere where threats are exchanged on a regular basis, how can we expect cooperation?
Before a politician opens his mouth, he should ask himself if his children are listening.