[FORUM]Uri Party has head in the sandThe Uri Party has suddenly be-come quiet. The controversy over the confidants of the president, the reverse discrimination against Honam natives, the talk of the merger with the Millennium Democratic Party and the discussion of political restructuring centering around former Prime Minister Koh Gun have all disappeared. This was not a result of a serious discussion.
On June 12, former and incumbent party presidents, floor leaders and the central standing committee members agreed at a banquet to give a priority to the harmony and unity of the party, and all the discords and trouble evaporated. So neither the party insiders nor the citizens believe that the problems of the governing party have been solved. The media called it a “suture” in concert.
A suture is the surgical process of sewing a wound or an incision. If the trouble and division of the Uri Party were external wounds, a suture could have treated the problem. However, the situation is far more serious, with pragmatists and reformists making harsh and rude remarks against one another. Some said they would smile secretly in the restroom when the other faction left the party. The division cannot be considered a mere flesh wound. They have ignored the internal injury and stitched it up, so it is only natural that the wound will fester.
Why did they hurriedly stitch up the wound? “To fulfill the responsibilities as a governing party” is only a nominal justification. A more frank answer is that they do not have the courage to face the cause of the ailment. They are afraid that the party might break apart. They complain they do not enjoy the advantages of past dominant parties because of the separation between the party and the administration but still fear losing this favored position. The so-called reformists are not brave enough to openly proclaim a progressive party, while the so-called pragmatists lack both the confidence and the will to lead. So they ended the trouble with a make-shift solution of a suture.
The alleged bolting and alienation of Honam-based lawmakers and the rumor of a merger with the Millennium Democratic Party made the Uri Party even more pathetic. The basis of the alleged alienation is that only two of the Blue House secretaries are from the Honam region. However, Honam natives make up the majority of the governing party lawmakers. The merger, too, lacks justification. If they hope for a merger because of their total defeat in the April 30 by-election, and they calculated that it would be hard to win next year’s local elections without the support of the Honam region, they are practically announcing a return to the regional structure of the past. When they separated from the Millennium Democratic Party and established the Uri Party, their justifications were political reform and the breaking up of regional confrontation. If the Uri Party flirts with the Millennium Democrats saying they now share their political tendencies, it would be a denial of the foundation of their existence. They should learn to wait until they have a clear justification, and the citizens are convinced.
The essence of the governing party’s crisis can be found from the amateurish government administration and the failure of economic policies. No prescription can treat the ailment without addressing these issues. Lawmaker Kim Han-gil had a point when he said, “The citizens acknowledge the goodwill of the current administration but consider it incompetent.”
The youth football team could win a come-from-behind victory over Nigeria only with unconditional friendship and teamwork. The players who had missed a penalty kick or a decisive chance sincerely regretted their mistakes and the goalie who had let the Nigerian team score reportedly cried his eyes out in the locker room after the first half.
It is shameless to expect the support of the citizens or unity of the party without recourse to sincere repentance. Even though it might be painful, they should admit and discuss their mistakes and faults and review the direction of the state affairs through discussion. They should shake off their overall incompetence by hiring talented individuals.
They are underestimating the voters if they think they can win the next presidential election as the situation stands.
* The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kim Du-woo