[FOUNTAIN]Voters moved like pawnsA crow appears as a gofer for the King of Hades in a Jeju Island mythical tale. The crow’s task is to relay to human beings a book that reveals how long they will live. In the story, the crow flies to the top of a rock after witnessing the killing of a horse, hoping to eat some of its meat. As soon as the butcher tosses the hooves, the crow forgets about the book it had clasped under its wings. Without the book in tow, the crow reaches the village and rattles off the expected lifespans of the villagers, creating utter disarray. For this reason, people have come to ask those who have forgotten something, “Did you eat crow meat?” Similar myths exist all over the country. The crow lived as a companion to our ancestors and we are intimate with crows, which might explain why people easily forget, without necessarily consuming any crow meat.
It is agonizing to relive painful events, but if we easily forget them, we are in danger of making the same mistakes; the political arena serves as a prime example.
The flood of discontent that accrued after President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration was completely reversed during the impeachment process. The Uri Party dominated the parliamentary elections to the point where the word “tandori” was created, referring to lawmakers who had been elected because of the adverse reaction to the impeachment. In the by-elections that followed, the Uri Party lost all 40 seats. Approval ratings for President Roh and the Uri Party have dropped to single digits; however, the members of the ruling party remain composed.
They brazenly think, “Just because a person leads in the public polls a year before the election does not guarantee victory.” The “49 to 51” logic also comes into play. Regardless of what the public sentiment may be, the presidential election boils down to a fight between the “49 percent supporting the Grand National Party and the rest of the 51 percent.”
The ruling party may assert that presidential elections are different from National Assembly and regional by-elections. There is also an alliance theory that divides the mainstream and subculture into a six-to-four ratio.
This kind of logic states that people vote according to their disposition regardless of political party or the merits of the candidates. Memory loss by voters and sympathy for the underdog also come into play. Under this logic, voters don’t pass judgment on candidates. How the affairs of state have been managed is inconsequential.
There is no virtue in the game -- but the voters are more woeful, moved like pawns according to the whims of politicians.
The writer is an editorial writer
of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kim Jin-kook