[EDITORIALS]Vox populi, loud and clear

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[EDITORIALS]Vox populi, loud and clear

The public’s opinion, conveyed to both ruling and opposition party lawmakers after their visits to their constituencies, is that the people want politicians to concentrate on solving the problems of people’s livelihoods. Legislators said in unison that they were scolded by their constituents throughout the Chuseok holidays. The situation was the same in all regions; both older and younger representatives had the same experience. Some lawmakers didn’t dare to visit traditional markets out of fear of being harassed by the people. In fact, Chun Jung-bae, floor leader of the Uri Party, heard a merchant threatening, “I want to throw salt on you,” behind his back while he was visiting Namdaemun Market. These are the natural consequences of the politicians’ own deeds. It is time for them to look back on what they have done since the Assembly opened: They were busy with issues that aggravated the difficulties of people’s lives.
President Roh’s responsibility is also big. Mr. Roh has raised controversial issues one after another, starting with the move of the capital, the “clearing” of history and abolition of the National Security Law. He also said, “How can we achieve the goal of $30,000 per capita income, if those who went against the tide of the times are still in power? What good will it be, even if we accomplish it?” The angry public opinion is the answer to such questions.
The real problem is that the situation is not likely to improve in the future. Next week, the Assembly will start its inspection of government work. After that, budget deliberations and enactment of important acts and laws are scheduled. This is the important political schedule on which the basic plan for state affairs depends. But large parts of it are remote from people’s livehihood. But the parties still stubbornly confront each other over those issues. If this doesn’t change, next year’s prospects are poor.
The president must listen to people’s opinion expressed during Chuseok. He must refrain from making remarks harmful to economy. He must look back on how big the repercussion of his words has been.
People must keep in mind the words and deeds of politicians. They must teach them a lesson that those who don’t respect public opinion will have to pay the price. Politicians will never change, if they don’t see how powerful the people’s watching eyes are.
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