Cheap name-calling

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Cheap name-calling

The main opposition Democratic Party is offering cash rewards to people who insult the administration.

On its Web site, the party is inviting netizens to come up with negative labels for Lee Myung-bak’s second cabinet. The DP believes that its use of negative, populist nicknames - such as “a cabinet of the well-off” - for the first cabinet worked very well for its political purposes.

In the painful process of passing or blocking a bill late last year, the party believes that it won a campaign battle because it labeled the bill “MB’s evil act.” This time, the DP has put up money in an attempt to incite the people.

Campaigns are necessary in politics. But they must not pursue populism. The DP may have succeeded in attacking the ruling party by giving it negative nicknames, but this ploy has caused our politics to regress.

Propaganda slogans blur the essence of matters and block normal political processes. The epithets that the DP gave to the government’s major bills are good examples.

The DP labeled the revision bill for the banking law aimed at separating industrial capital from financial capital, an act in favor of jaebeol banks.

It called a bill for a revised media law an act for dominating the press.

As the opposition party coins negative nicknames and blows up tiny aspects of the issues, the spirit and content of bills become vague and resistance to them increases.

But a close look at the bills reveals that they are all aimed at reviving the economy. If the separation between financial and industrial capital is eased, companies, private equity funds and pension funds will be able to invest more in banks.

This can help ease the cash and credit crunch.

The media law also must be revised to catch up with rapid changes in the new media environment.

Amending the law as soon as possible will nurture the media industry as a growth engine for the future.

The DP has blocked the bills from passing by using ill-intended negative names.

If there are flaws in the bills, legislators must work to improve them by holding public hearings and listening to experts’ opinions.

The Democrats did not turn to this accepted process in the conduct of their duties. Instead, they scornfully labeled bills that they oppose and staged campaigns outside the National Assembly.

As if that was not bad enough, the party has now even put money behind its populist campaign. Taxpayers’ money must not be misused as bait to instigate a cheap political campaign.

Giving negative nicknames to bills or the cabinet intensifies conflicts in politics to extremes.

Stirring emotions in people and encouraging hostility against a certain group is populist and divisive.

The DP must not forget the basics of politics - the integration of society.

The party must stop its campaign to tag the second cabinet with derogatory nicknames.
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