[Outlook]The undecided hold the key

Home > Opinion > Columns

print dictionary print

[Outlook]The undecided hold the key

In the United States, after a party holds a convention and nominates its presidential candidate, the candidate’s approval rating surges by around 10 percent. That is the advantage of the party convention. Yesterday, in Korea, the Grand National Party had its primary, and Lee Myung-bak won the party nomination. Has his approval rating gone up by 10 percent?
As a presidential hopeful, Lee’s approval rating topped 50 percent at one point. But the figure has steadily fallen, making it impossible to predict the primary election outcome until the last day. Some say the result would have been different if the primary had been held only a couple of days later.
People who support the Grand National Party worry whether Lee will win the presidential election. Suspicions that caused his approval ratings to fall haven’t yet been cleared.
Suspicions about his assets and properties have had a strong influence even on members of his own party. Will he be able to win when he comes up against the candidate from the ruling party circle?
Lee will struggle a lot in the presidential election campaign unless suspicions about his assets are cleared up.
As many raise suspicions and attack Lee, his supporters still feel 100 percent confident that Lee is telling the truth. If small leads or clues point to the suspicions being true, people will change their minds. They will regret trusting the wrong person, and the situation will be uncontrollable.
Lee might be planning to do the same in the presidential election campaign as he did in the campaign to earn the party nomination.
Since he is already the opposition party’s candidate, he might as well use that power to try to quash suspicions about his conduct.
On top of this, fear that his supporters have in their hearts will give him more power over them. Many hope that the GNP will swiftly attain power.
If Lee is in trouble, their hopes will disappear. Like it or not, they have no choice but to support him. Those who have this fear will bond more tightly. They make themselves into his hostages.
Their fear makes Lee arrogant. He might think “What other choices do you have now? I’m the only one you can choose.”
We have seen this scenario twice already in the past. Belief that they would certainly be elected president has made candidates arrogant. The belief made the candidates behave as if they were already the president. If people who support a certain candidate stick together, people who oppose the candidate do the same but more strongly.
People who don’t side with either take the time to figure out whom they support. The election result depends on winning the hearts of those people in the grey area.
If a group of people sticks together, they form a strong bond but they cannot embrace those who are outside their bond. No matter how determined a voter may be to support a certain candidate, he cannot cast two votes.
Ironically, supporters of the opposition party must shake off their fear if they truly wish to seize power. They must think “Whoever may be elected president, the country will not collapse. We have been putting up with a liberal administration for 10 years, so we can stand another five.”
If many think like this, it will keep Lee on his toes. He will think that he was wrong to take his supporters for granted.
This will make him humble and modest. He will realize that yielding power as the strong candidate won’t do the job. If he becomes modest, even those who hate him will change their minds.
Nobody wants to reveal their flaws or weaknesses. So they do not confess them. Strong or arrogant people want to appear even stronger than they actually are.
But there is one thing to know. If they confess their weaknesses, they become stronger because they have nothing to be afraid of anymore. The strength to confess weakness comes from modesty. Lee’s life is full of legendary successes. But his successes might become a trap for him in the future.
History is about looking into the past. Through reflection, one sees that certain events in the past caused specific results later. If one jumps ahead in time, one can learn what to do now to bring desirable results. We can jump ahead to Dec. 19. To those who try this method, the future is no longer a mystery. The present defines the future.
Will Lee’s supporters stick together among themselves and will Lee stay arrogant for four months until the presidential election? Or, will they become tolerant and modest?
The decision will decide the presidential election result.

*The writer is the vice publisher and chief editorial page editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Moon Chang-keuk
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)