[Viewpoint] No vaccine for the ‘agitation virus’In a democracy, an election is a choice in all respects. It is not an absolute concept such as justice or truth. A community entrusts necessary power to the winner based on the majority’s choice. The elected serve the community with their mandated power and face a trial in the next election.
It is the contract of an election. Both the community and the elected must respect the contract faithfully. The elected must not ignore the contract and be excited as if they have attained justice after victory. The community should not offer unconditional praise or indulgence to the elected. Both parties should not forget what happened before the election, especially when the candidates are indebted to the community.
Bill Clinton won the 1992 U.S. presidential election but struggled with the Whitewater controversy after taking office. An independent counsel was designated to investigate the scandal. Just because Lee Myung-bak was elected president, Koreans did not forget the controversies over his fake address transfer and stock price manipulation. Koreans constantly demand morality from the president.
The people of Seoul should remember five suspicions surrounding Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and demand that he become an upstanding mayor. The five suspicions include his perspectives on security, military service, academic record, donations and sponsorships, and unlawful election campaigning. Park needs to pay back the debt to the community by becoming a good mayor.
There are people who have misguided illusions about the election outcome. Most notable is Professor Ahn Cheol-soo. He said that common sense triumphed over nonsense. A scientist should keep distance from illusion and be close to facts. Ahn is one of the country’s most prominent scientists. He is a mentor for the young generation, and he is as popular as Representative Park Geun-hye. However, he failed to distinguish common sense and nonsense properly and created a cacophony of black and white.
You cannot say that Park Won-soon is the embodiment of common sense and that former Representative Na Kyung-won represents everything nonsensical. Both candidates have a combination of nonsense and common sense. If Na means nonsense, are 46 percent of the voters also nonsense? How about the voters in their 50s and 60s, the age groups that supported her more than twice as much as Park? If the young generation is so sensible and the older generation lacks sense, is our society upside down?
Park said that his security perspective was solid. However, members of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, which Park co-founded, sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council saying that they could not believe the allegations that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan. When the international community was denouncing the murderous regime, the victims actually opposed it.
If Park had a solid security stance, it would have only made sense for him to have discouraged the PSPD from sending such a letter. Park had criticized the Syngman Rhee administration as being pro-Japanese. Then, it would have been common sense to turn down donations from Toyota.
When he entertained making a bid for City Hall, Ahn said in an interview with the Hankyoreh, “The current administration is going against the flow of history.” The Lee Myung-bak administration harshly censured North Korea and has been urging changes related to the Cheonan attack. However, the opposition party and civic groups denied the attack and defended Pyongyang even when a North Korean torpedo was discovered. Who, exactly, is going against the flow of history?
The Lee Myung-bak administration is trying to create more jobs through a free trade agreement with the United States. The opposition and civic groups are fiercely opposed to the FTA, preventing a boost in the job market. Who is going against history, really?
Ahn is a member of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision as well as the President’s Council on Informatization Strategies. The council seats cannot be taken unless you agree with the views of the president. If Ahn wants to criticize the president for going against history, he should resign from the posts first. It would make sense. If he wants to mention “the flow of history” in front of the citizens, he needs to have in-depth knowledge about history and politics as well as experience in the social sciences. Ahn said that he knows humanities but is not familiar with politics. Then, it would be common sense not to judge history with his own standards.
It is Ahn himself who is caught in nonsense. But he is dividing our society into black and white by calling others nonsensical. The accusation belongs to an agitator, not a scientist. He may have learned demagoguery first with his involvement in politics. Ahn showed the “duality virus” before the election. After the election, he has been infected with the “agitation virus.” The computer virus specialist has no vaccine for the virus with which he has been infected.
*The writer is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Kim Jin