[Outlook]GNP must cooperate or perishThere is a saying that if you want to destroy an otherwise happy family, just drop $1 million in the courtyard of their home. The money will soon be gone and the family ruined, because there will be a fight over the money among the parents, brothers and sisters. Indeed, family disputes over inheritance among siblings and between parents and children often end in tears and court cases that can tear the clan apart.
We call this a broken family.
Now the Grand National Party is a broken party. It seems that when the prospect of political power was dropped in front of the party, it caused nothing but dissension and trouble. In order to grab power, the brothers and sisters of the GNP have ended up in a big fight that may now end up in court. The presidential hopefuls of the party will have to run their campaigns and rally their supporters at the same time as they are appearing before prosecutors. It is as if they have entrusted their political life to the discretion of the current administration. And this is not even a plot or plan by the government. It was brought on by the Grand National Party itself.
It is often said that history repeats itself, and so it is in the case of the GNP.
The Grand National Party and its predecessor were defeated twice in previous races for the presidency because the conservatives behaved arrogantly, assuming they had the prize of political power even before the votes were cast.
On the first occasion, perhaps the party was naive because of its lack of political experience. But the GNP is now making the same mistakes for the third time.
As Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce.” I don’t know whether the Grand National Party is preparing to stage a farce, but if they are, they must be prepared to present empty smiles to the audience in December.
Why can’t they see the election outcome that is becoming manifest to the rest of us? Is it because the illusion of a GNP presidential inauguration next year haunts their minds? They should wake up.
Both of the opposition’s presidential hopefuls have many weak points, and whoever wins the party primary is hardly guaranteed victory in the race for president.
For example, there are aspects to the real estate problems associated with Lee Myung-bak that are not easy to understand, and indeed defy common sense. It is common sense that people keep distance from their in-laws’ business. It is, therefore, difficult to understand how the brother of Lee’s wife and his own older brother could work together as business partners. This hardly seems possible, unless Lee brought them together.
The suspicions cannot be made to disappear by simply categorically denying the allegations, and it seems unlikely that the internal candidate verification process would harshly judge one of the GNP’s own stalwarts.
If Lee eventually becomes the candidate, the issue of his real estate dealings will certainly be discussed again. The problems related to Park Geun-hye are not simple, either.
The legacy of her father, the late President Park Chung Hee, will be as much a negative for her as it is a positive.
The criticism that her election would mark a return to the past era of military government, along with the perceptions associated with being the country’s first female president are issues that she must address and overcome.
Her supporters often quote female leaders from other countries, but some female world leaders emphasize are the benefits of the sensitivity and compassion derived from the experience of raising children and managing a home. But Park Geun-hye never married and has no children. Does she have these qualities?
Of course there is a tendency for the weak points of the opposition’s candidates to be exaggerated during an election as opponents probe for weakness. And those who are on the side of power are fanning the flames to try and make things worse for the GNP. They will certainly attack whomever emerges from the primary like a pack of wolves.
In order to be victorious in the December election, therefore, the two opposition candidates should maintain a show of unity even when they compete against one another in the primary. The real prize should lie in having their party succeed.
This means cooperation. They must change the course of self-destructive competition to one that will lead to productive coexistence.
Instead of exposing each other’s weak points for all to see, they should show an attitude of struggling for a common cause.
If they change their attitudes, the people will also be inclined to judge them more generously, despite their weak points. Of course, it is not easy for rivals to cooperate in politics. But there are only two choices left to them; either change their current attitudes or stage a farce.
When we see the world from the perspective of gaining power, there are only winners and losers, plunderers and the plundered. The two GNP campaigns are engaged in a similar struggle. The assemblymen siding with either of the two leading candidates are engaged in a fierce battle against one another as they jockey for position for next year’s general elections. They do so out of some sense of anxiety that they might lose the party’s nomination to run again for the National Assembly if their side loses the primary. Politics should not be swayed by such people.
The intra-party wrangling is nothing but competition among comrades who share a common cause. If they support the opposition party, the question of which individual wins the primary should not be their major concern. They should give more thought to the need to change the government. But because they have no sense of crisis, there may be no future for the nation if power is once again handed over to the left-wing forces.
The two opposition candidates should make this their goal. Instead of placing priority on holding power in their own hands, they should worry more about the future of the nation. They should agree to sacrifice themselves for the county’s good.
It is the time to pay more attention to cooperation between the two camps than investigations and accusations.
They must discuss how the winner and the loser in the primary will move ahead in unity. The party’s elders should present plans to make honest cooperation between Lee and Park a success.
What is most important is removing the blindfold of greed for power from their eyes. Once they can see things clearly, a cooperative spirit can emerge.
The first step is to open themselves up to a new road that will lead them toward mutual survival through cooperation, instead of the one that leads only to their political demise after a fierce fight.
*The writer is the vice publisher and chief editor of the editorial page of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Moon Chang-keuk