ID crisisPresident Lee Myung-bak has warned that Korea is facing a looming identity crisis, an extraordinary speech for the country’s chief executive to make.
Depending on your political beliefs, you may agree or disagree with the president, but many acknowledge that dangers are lurking, and an identity crisis, together with an unprecedented economic slowdown, pose a massive threat to our country.
Korea’s identity is rooted in its constitution, democracy and free-market principles. But in the legislature, the very core of democracy has been violated. The opposition parties continue to block the ratification of bills related to the economy and social reform due to ideological differences with the ruling party.
The opposition and some private factions have attacked the current government as a “civilian dictator” seeking to make economic and media laws favorable for the jaebeol, the large conglomerates.
What’s more, the new government has yet to get its hands on school textbooks to revise distorted historical content and amend records that were tilted toward the left during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations.
And during the riots against American beef imports, we witnessed an invasion of laws that sent our streets into chaos.
If this is not an identity crisis, we don’t know what is.
The president and its government are partly to blame for the current mess. The government sparked the beef predicament by handling prior negotiations poorly and failing to manage the illegal riots. It blemished its code of ethics and leadership skills through one disappointing appointment after another. The president’s popularity ratings are now half what they were a year ago.
An identity crisis for the country is not a problem just for the government. It concerns the entire country. Therefore, the solution must be found within the whole community.
The president should learn from his mistakes and project the will to establish the right sense of history, law and order. The Democratic Party’s defeat in the presidential election is the people’s judgment of the past decade. The Democratic Party and other radical-minded sectors must acknowledge the authority of the current conservative government.
It is welcome to voice its views on policies and bills, but at the same time it must respect the majority-rule principles of a parliamentary democracy.