Political mind games

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Political mind games

Democracy in Korea is suffering. It has developed step-by-step so far but now it is being derailed by forces obsessed with ideologies.

A group of professors have released a series of declarations expressing their worries. They believe democracy in Korea is on the retreat.

People can always have different perspectives on society. Democracy is, after all, a precious commodity and by nature it has to accommodate a plethora of opinions and divergent sectors of a community. But the academics’ declarations do not lead to reasonable discussions. Instead, they only divide people into leftists and rightists.

Less than 10 percent of faculty members at one particular university signed one declaration, but their document is now identified by their university’s name. The chancellor and other professors are now resisting their actions.

Some law professionals, writers and religious figures have also put their names to similar declarations. What is worse is the main opposition Democratic Party is encouraging the dissenters. A political party and lawmakers are responsible for resolving social conflict within institutions. But Democrats close the doors to the National Assembly and prefer to take to the streets.

It is hard to figure out what they want to achieve. If they boycott the National Assembly whenever their arguments are rejected and try to resolve an issue by mobilizing the general public’s power on the street, there is no room for democratic procedures and values.

Discussing different opinions in the National Assembly is a key part of the democratic process. If a political party demands that policies defeated in an election are accepted before it attends the National Assembly, the very notion of a democratic election is undermined.

Some critics claim that people’s freedom of speech and assembly are under threat. It is true that the administration has made some mistakes, but this is not a reason for a political party to abandon the National Assembly and stage a rally on the streets.

The right to resist must be the last resort to protect democracy. We are in different times than June 1987 when the uprisings against the military dictatorship took place. This was a time when even the most basic democratic procedure to elect the president was denied.

Democrats now occupy Seoul Plaza, misusing their status as lawmakers, and shout, “Democracy feeds on blood.” Have they tried anything else as politicians? They neglect bills concerning people’s livelihoods and instead attempt to use the people’s grief for our late former president for political purposes.

Such shallow maneuvering hinders our democratic development.
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