Unacceptable attacks

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Unacceptable attacks

Democratic Party lawmaker Chun Jung-bae’s crude remarks about the president went far beyond the limits of what’s acceptable. At an outdoor rally the party held the other day, Chun unleashed his fury at the Lee Myung-bak administration by saying, “Isn’t it better for us to kill President Lee now?” His harsh language moved into cyberspace, too. The DP’s Special Committee on Reform, which Chun heads, posted a stinging cartoon on its Web site that portrays President Lee as a rodent and includes the line, “Rats should be eradicated.”

Korean politics is infamous for its coarse language and extreme violence. But Chun’s vulgar assault most certainly crossed the line. Chun, a four-term lawmaker in the National Assembly, is indisputably one of the leading members of the nation’s elite. After working as a judge and lawyer before joining the Roh Moo-hyun administration as minister of justice, he became the floor leader of the Uri Party - the ruling party under the Roh regime - and is now a member of the DP’s Supreme Council.

We wonder how such a high-profile politician could utter such crude words. His remarks amount to a shameful degradation of his integrity and sully the image of his party.

He argues that his expressions are only targeting the ruling party’s forceful passage of next year’s budget without consideration of the DP’s opposition. However, it was the DP that provided a pretext for the ruling party’s move to rush the budget bill through, as it staged sit-in strikes to stall passage. More importantly, it does not make any sense for Chun to link President Lee’s emphasis on a need to pass the bill in time with the end of the president’s government. Democracy calls for major opposition parties to keep the government in check. But the job should be done within the boundaries of reason and rationality.

Last month, the Democratic Party was under heavy fire for lawmaker Kang Ki-jung’s groundless accusation that first lady Kim Yoon-ok took a bundle of $100 bills as part of a bribe. This year, the DP’s behavior disappointed the public several times, including its infamous opposition to a resolution denouncing North Korea for its sinking of the Cheonan warship.

Last August, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution reprimanding an opposition representative who shouted “You lie!” as President Barack Obama delivered a speech. The ethics committee of our National Assembly should also impose harsh punishment on lawmakers who make crude and unacceptable statements.
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