Grace in victory or defeatFormer Grand National Party chairperson Park Geun-hye gave a touching speech in accepting her defeat in the party primary.
Amid the contentious politics of plotting, name-calling, betrayals and broken promises, Park’s speech was indeed a moving scene. In the words of her rival, Lee Myung-bak, Park displayed the attitude of a winner even though she lost, which elevated the level of Korean politics.
There are some people, however, who wish to prevent her from accepting the defeat with grace and dignity.
Grand National lawmaker Lee Jae-oh, who is also a key aide to Lee Myung-bak, said in an interview with the press that both of the candidates who competed in the party primary should reflect on themselves in order to produce true forward-looking solidarity.
He mentions both sides, but in reality he is demanding that Park seek forgiveness from Lee. It was not easy for Park to gladly accept the close margin of defeat, where the victory margin was a mere 1.5 percent of difference.
Nonetheless, she appeased her supporters and let go of the outcome.
Whenever a senior politician came to see her, Park expressed her resolution to support Lee during his bid to win the presidential election.
Despite that, Lee Jae-oh was critical of Park. What good does he intend to achieve with that attitude?
Reconciliation after the primary race is the responsibility of the winner. The generosity of the winner allows him to forget the past. It is also the winner who reaps benefits in the presidential election by achieving harmony. That is also true if he is elected president. If the president oppresses his previous contenders and rival candidates, he cannot accomplish national harmony. Such a person should not be elected president in the first place.
Nor is it right for the supporters of Park to demonstrate in front of the GNP party office. To accept the result that came from due process is the foundation of procedural democracy. Few could have been completely satisfied with the rules and regulations of the primary race, and in that sense one can understand their discontent at the outcome. But they went too far when they took legal procedures to contest the outcome of the party primary in court. By so doing, the supporters of Park are ruining her honorable defeat and set a wrongful precedent in our political history.
Win with grace. Lose with grace.