Power politics of 386As the end of the Roh Moo-hyun administration nears, more is being revealed about the arrogance of the 386 generation, which has been at the center of power. An autobiography was written by a former head of the police who was the Blue House’s secretary in charge of security. It shows us glimpses of how power was abused and used in a way that had no logic. When discussions went late into the night, officials often would not work until noon the next day. There was no formality among the power-wielding officials who acted like they were brothers, and the chief secretary was called an “older brother.” Requests were made to release demonstrators who had participated in illegal protests on grounds that they were from the same school. Work and individual interests were mingled during this administration. These people only paid lip service to the slogan of reform as they drank expensive Western liquor and enjoyed themselves at luxurious hotel restaurants.
For the past five years, this 386 generation has steered the country as it wished. It called President Roh “Our tool,” and the president also leaned on them. It’s not only the Blue House where such acts were common. During the national elections in 2004 for the National Assembly, scores of this generation became lawmakers, and at a reception dinner with the president they sang songs together that were popular among this generation that fought against the government in their college years.
How power succeeds depends largely on how the force behind the power behaves. The Blue House stands at the center of power. In the 1970s and 1980s, those who became president’s secretaries were selected from the cream of each organization.
During the Roh administration, the 386 generation has destroyed the order that had prevailed at the center of power. The president supported them by promoting them through backdoor deals and putting them in various positions. Look at the case of former Blue House official Jung Yun-jae, who has been detained on suspicion of taking a bribe to introduce his acquaintance to Busan tax authorities. That is only the tip of the iceberg. The 386 generation of the National Assembly is no different. While preaching to abolish the National Security Law and reform, this group was drunk with its power, liquor and golf.
A president who was ignorant of the weight of history and how the world works, and the 386 generation that used him as a tool and destroyed order and media rooms ― that is the portrait of our country in the past five years that no one wants to remember.