[Outlook] Why every vote countsThe run-up to the presidential race has been boring and anxious. There are only two days left before the 17th presidential election. The captain of Korea’s future will be chosen within 72 hours.
What frustrating days candidates and their entourages have had. Whenever a negative campaign was employed by a rival camp, the candidate being attacked has been frightened and felt uneasy about an investigation by the prosecutor’s office.
The candidate must have been so thankful when his approval rating did not fall, but felt each moment as if it was three years.
Whenever the unification of candidates became an issue, the lesser candidate stayed committed to victory, but he has been disappointed every time. He must have expected to deal a fatal blow to his rival, but once again he must have been disappointed and deeply frustrated when people did not waver, no matter how hard he was trying to knock on their hearts.
Angry with cynical public sentiment, he must have been unwilling to accept that a candidate who seems to lack virtue leaves others far behind in the presidential race. He might have stamped his feet with nervousness, sure that he would finally get across the wall of a 10 percent approval rating.
In fact, people were angry and irritated. This presidential election has never been entertaining. It just gave people a list of candidates that made it hard to choose whom to vote for ― such as a candidate who lacks the social conscience and morality of a public figure; a candidate who changed the title of his party out of a desire to throw off the yoke of judgment levied against the incumbent regime; a candidate who has countlessly moved here and there between parties; and a candidate who jumped on the bandwagon without undergoing a screening process.
In the 14 months leading up to the presidential race since October 2006, the front-runner has never changed. The rivals became fixed only this October. Even so, the lead candidate lost an opportunity to stand by himself. He retained a lingering desire for the old-fashioned political show ― unification of candidates. Nothing gave the people a sense of pleasure. There have been no unexpected reversals from the outset. People will go to voting booths without seeing any real policy examinations.
If one could do whatever one pleases, we would not vote at all. If one could accept the results without making any further complaints about the president and politics in general, that would be fine. However, nobody is free from the effect politics has on the nation.
Therefore, to abstain from voting as a declaration of intention would be rubbish. It is stupid to justify a decision not to vote by saying, “Even if I don’t take part in the election, the candidate I support will be elected,” or “Even though I participated in the election, the results will never change.” The number of votes it takes to declare a winner is covered with the power of the magic. The symbolism of the number can sometimes stun the world.
The influence we have does not end when a new president is declared. The direction of politics will change according to the following factors: whether the winning candidate gets more than 50 percent of the popular vote; who comes in second and what percentage of the popular vote he receives; and how much of the vote the progressive party candidate won.
These factors will have a great influence upon the following political decisions: the direction of the new presidency in conducting state affairs; the birth and death of the parties; and the result of the general election slated to be held in April next year.
Your single vote will tip the balance of future politics and ultimately influence your own life. If you wish to change the world, you need to make your political viewpoint clear.
What shall we do if we believe there is no ideal candidate to vote for? This is also an excuse.
Politics is not about choosing a suit especially tailored for us, but about choosing from a selection of ready-made clothes.
The greatest common divisor for nine, 15, and 21 is three. Elections are designed to seek the greatest common divisor.
If you cannot find the best candidate, then you need to choose a second alternative. If you cannot find a second alternative candidate, you can choose the third alternative candidate. If all of them seem inappropriate, you should choose the second-worst alternative avoid the worst candidate.
One good way to make a choice is to focus on what you see as the core task of the next presidency. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I want the new president to do?” When you get an answer, vote for the candidate that you think will be most likely to carry out that task.
If enough people do this and come up with the same question, it will reflect the spirit of the times.
Korean people vote to reveal the spirit of the times. Today’s Korea has been built by drawing on such national choices.
Candidates seem to be equipped with only one virtue and as many as nine defects. However, if you think of the one virtue that made them a presidential hopeful, it might relieve the burden that you feel and make your choice easier when you go to the polls.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Kim Du-woo