[Viewpoint] We believe in miraclesAfter the general election in April, various analyses have been put forth, but the term “miracle” is the best one to describe the outcome. Before the election, no one could predict its surprising result. Not just the opinion poll specialists, but the ruling Saenuri Party itself did not expect to win a majority. Even the exit polls on the evening of the election failed to predict that. When something incomprehensible happens, people tend to think of it as a miracle. In some weird confluence of events, a foul-mouthed, shock jock candidate didn’t bow out of the race despite harsh criticism, and the opposition party backing him was supine on the issue. That made all the difference.
Many voters from regions outside the capital that had supported the opposition in the last local government elections turned conservative. The progressive camp claimed that those rural folk were beyond the reach of social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook, but no one can be sure of the reason why they turned conservative. Instead of trying to come up with dubious analyses, it would be easier to accept the miracle for what it is. The winning side should be grateful for the miracle, and the defeated should humbly accept the fact.
Who created the miracle? Individual citizens cast votes based on their own judgments, and the decisions were combined to make the miracle. Let’s look at the districts where the election result was determined by a narrow margin. Maybe, the voice of the people is indeed the will of Heaven. If divine will was not involved, how can we explain the outcome? Korea is a blessed country. Korea has been transformed from the poorest country in the world to one of the largest economies in fifty years, and this economic success is often considered a miracle. In fact, historically, Korea has faced up to various calamities and has overcome each crisis in a miraculous way.
Let’s assume that the opposition won the majority as was expected. Things would have been far more chaotic and complicated. The opposition would have made a fuss over renegotiating or abandoning the FTA with the United States. Then Korea would have earned a reputation for ditching agreements with other countries after every election. What would have happened in Gangjeong Village in Jeju Island, where a naval base is being built? Protestors would have occupied the construction sites, and the police and military forces guarding them would have been defeated. Korea would have been ridiculed as a strange country that cannot even build a military facility for defense purposes when North Korea threatens it with a missile launch - all because of an election.
How about the “Naneun Ggomsuda” (“I’m A Petty-Minded Creep”) podcast hosts? Two days after the election defeat, one of the hosts who ran in the election said, “I am done behaving as a defeated candidate. I am ready to resume my career as a foul mouth.” He is shameless even after the people turned their backs on him. Had he been elected, he would have burst with pride and confidence. With the opposition party as the majority, the National Assembly would have abandoned all other national issues and focused on vindictive hearings targeting the Lee Myung-bak administration. But the election miracle prevented all such disturbances.
Moreover, Heaven has given the Republic of Korea another chance. Korea is on the threshold of becoming a developed country in every way. We are standing at the crossroads, and we must enter the developed world or turn around in retreat. The election was a critical turning point. The opposition made various promises that were unfeasible, and if it had won majority, the Korean economy would have said a long goodbye to robust growth. National security would have also been affected.
The miracle has given Korea a grace period to get back on track. Conglomerates need to make sure they have enhanced their competitiveness in the international market and small- and medium-sized businesses should be helped to establish themselves in the domestic market. By creating more jobs, the middle class should become more solid. National defense needs to be reinforced. Then, North Korea may change. The endless confrontation between the conservatives and the progressives would ease.
The International Monetary Fund forecast that Korea’s per capita GDP will reach $30,000 by 2016, when the new National Assembly’s term ends. The Japanese Business Federation predicts that Korea’s per capita GDP will surpass Japan’s by 2030. Korea has been given another chance for a reason. If we fail to utilize this opportunity even when blessed with a miracle, Korea will be betraying Heaven’s will.
The opposition needs to use the opportunity to look in on itself. Their excessive leftist inclinations have made the people insecure. They need to affirm that the progressives and the conservatives share the same goals in national security. They should pay more attention to the daily lives of the people rather than ideology. They should fear the citizens’ judgment.
If they sincerely reflect on themselves, people will have nothing to worry about if an opposition candidate is elected as the next president. And how about the ruling party, which owes its victory to the miracle? It may believe that it deserved such a victory. However, appreciation for the miracle should be displayed in a form of modesty. Modesty is lowering oneself and embracing others. There are people worrying about the presidential election, but we should not be too concerned about the future. Korea is a blessed country because its citizens can perform miracles.
* The author is a senior columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Moon Chang-keuk