[Letters]What democracy does not look like
Again, as usual, a lawmaker was hospitalized after being hurt by some citizens who are unhappy with government policy. It seems not only ordinary citizens enjoy attacking lawmakers; it is not unusual to hear news about lawmakers fighting and throwing things at each other, sometimes even using sledgehammers. Those who use violence always say, “There is no democracy in this county! The government is a tyrant! We are for justice! We should do whatever it takes to stop ‘evil laws’!”
Since South Korea’s democracy is relatively young, the thinking of some lawmakers is also very childish. Every law that does not fit their own party’s criteria is considered to be undemocratic, evil, and going against the opinion of the citizens. They always say that; just look at the newspapers every day. In South Korea, the opposition party really exists just to say no to everything. They don’t have their own political philosophy or beliefs. It seems their duty is just to oppose everything that the ruling party says. For this reason, they enjoy using violence, swinging hammers and unlawfully occupying the National Assembly so that no legislation can be passed.
The primary responsibility of opposition parties is to balance the ruling party and speak out with diverse voices to make legislation that is in the best interest of the nation as a whole. Provoking citizens and describing everything that the ruling party does as evil and undemocratic is not a reasonable thing to do.
A reminder - lawmakers are elected by the citizens; they may not represent all, but it’s the majority of the country’s citizens. Rejecting the ruling party is rejecting democracy.
Since South Korea underwent extended dictatorship, there seems to be an atmosphere in the country that regards opposing the government and established order as something in the interest of justice and a good thing. Rejecting the government is seen as courageous and righteous.
Yes, criticism is vital in a democracy; representative politics cannot represent all citizens. But still, where in the world do lawmakers use hammers to speak out? Where in the developed world do lawmakers occupy the national legislature?
Please wake up, opposition parties of South Korea! You are the ones defying democracy right now. People should all have at least a modicum of respect for democratic institutions. Using hammers to speak out does not speak for diversity in a democracy. Kang Yoon Seung, student,
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies