Incompetence and fistfights

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Incompetence and fistfights

Nine days after 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush stood before Congress and addressed the nation. In the speech, he declared a war on terror, saying that the goal of the war was the annihilation of international terrorist groups. During the 35-mimutes address, a total of 30 ovations erupted from across the aisle.

At the moment of a national crisis, the first place the president should go is the National Assembly, because it is an ideal place to deliver a resolute message to the enemy and the world. During the cataclysmic crisis that was 9/11, the U.S. Congress became a venue for affirming and demonstrating the country’s firm resolution.

South Korea is currently facing its worst national security crisis since the Korean War as a result of North Korea’s shelling of the civilian island of Yeonpyeong. The North has even threatened to launch another attack against the South soon. With the danger escalating further, our National Assembly has again become acutely divided over next year’s budget. The lawmakers engaged in shameful physical attacks, rather than denouncing the North in unison.

The opposition parties’ violent behavior is nothing new - it is like a chronic disease that erupts whenever controversial issues arise. They first block the submission of a bill to a subcommittee by occupying the committee room. And if the Speaker attempts to refer the bill to the plenary session with his mandate, they take over the main chamber, sometimes breaking windows to do it.

We are not asking the opposition parties to examine next year’s budget or the government’s wrongdoing with lenience just because the nation is facing a security crisis. Rather, the opposition camp should do its job more faithfully. Yet their violence in the Assembly hall is not only violence against democracy but a grave desecration of the dignity of our community as a whole.

The president and the ruling Grand National Party should have made a greater effort to impress upon the National Assembly the seriousness of the national security crisis before us. The president did address the nation but he hasn’t held a press conference or a meeting with heads of opposition parties. If the president had paid more attention to that, the opposition might have reigned in their ferocious behavior.

The ruling camp may have thought that the people would be on its side in this time of crisis, but it is not that way. In a nutshell, what we have is an incompetent administration and a debilitating opposition.
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