[Letter to the editor]Mistaken analogyI am an American physician residing in Seoul, and must take huge issue with Mr. Applegate’s ideas in his review of the American film “300” (March 16). To compare a work of mass entertainment designed to make money to Riefenstahl’s artistic, purposeful, effective Nazi propaganda is to devalue the suffering Hitler inflicted upon millions.
And where did he get the absurd idea that the “American elite” are practicing eugenics? Genetic screening for intelligence, attractiveness, strength or moneymaking ability is science fiction. In-vitro fertilization is designed to treat infertility, not create perfect embryos, and is hardly unique to America. Selective abortion of females is an issue in Asia, not America, and has the potential for enormous social problems.
I seriously doubt the makers of “300” intended it as propaganda for an American “master race.”
Susan Hendricks, M.D., Yongsan, Seoul
Make president truly the people’s choice
Article 2 of the Political Party Act defines a political party as “an association of individuals in pursuit of a common ideology or political end, seeking rule.” In this republic, those ideological similarities are most frequently realized six to nine months before a presidential election. Many people greet elections by manufacturing political parties and promptly desert them afterwards. However attractive this practice may seem, mass-producing political parties for electoral expediency and violating the spirit of the law distorts election results and gives the people an unwanted president. To purge this land of such a practice, I propose a long-overdue solution that has been held up by political friction: require that a presidential candidate receive a majority vote to win, instead of a pluralistic one.
To be elected to the highest office of the land under a pluralistic system, a candidate only needs to consider the number of votes and not the percentage of votes. Meaning, as long as the winner receives more votes than any other, it does not matter if he gets only 1 percent of the popular vote. He will still represent the people, including the 99 percent who didn’t vote for him.
Because of this system, third-party participation in Korean elections is very enthusiastic: third-parties can certainly sway a significant chunk of the major candidates’ votes, and if they’re lucky, they just might win. Consequently, the end result of the system is a highly undemocratic election in which the winner is opposed by the majority of the people: none of the four democratically elected former presidents have had the majority vote. Former president Roh Tae-woo won with 36.5 percent of the vote; Kim Young-sam took office with 42.4 percent; Kim Dae Jung, 40.3 percent; Roh Moo-hyun, 48.9 percent. Our election system is designed to make the president start his term with more opposition than support in a government that requires majority approval to get anything done. If the majority vote system is established, the first vote will weed out the third-party candidates and leave the major candidates to compete in the second vote. The people will have a chance to think again about their favorite candidates. The final two candidates will compete in the second vote, and the winner will come out on top with the majority approval. We, in return, will have a more empowered presidency.
The pluralistic voting is certainly a major cause for politicians bolting from party to party without the slightest ideological justification: the system gives every single candidate a chance at the president’s seat. Incidentally, I say that this unending Korean obsession with winning elections certainly is part of our representatives’ pathetic performance in running this country: they spend the better part of their terms squabbling about petty misdemeanors and pass dozens of bills per day during the last few Assembly sessions of their terms. When will our politicians stop running for president?
Yunsieg Kim, a senior at Daewon Foreign Language High School