Moon’s historical blind spotsA presidential candidate from the opposition can criticize the mistakes and failures of the administration in the realm of social progress. However, criticism is different from denunciation. If he is not simply criticizing the administration for doing things wrong but actually denies the history of the society and distorts the source of its problems, that is denunciation.
Denunciation pushes the society into the valley of schisms and rifts. Many people eagerly embrace the perspective of a candidate they support, especially the young generation, which can be lacking in an understanding of history. That’s why it is important for a candidate to have a proper perspective.
Moon Jae-in, the presidential candidate of the Democratic United Party, has many merits and strengths. He is the legitimate presidential contender of the biggest opposition party, which has a history of 60 years. He has won a total of 13 regional primaries. He has ample experience in state administration serving as chief of staff and senior secretary for five years in the Roh Moo-hyun administration. He has not been involved in any corruption scandals. He is humble, diligent and down-to-earth.
However, his perspective on the nation begs some questions.
In his acceptance speech, Moon said he would be a “healing president.” He promised to “heal the pain and suffering of the citizens.” Instead, he is encouraging divisions and discord. He denies the history of the Republic of Korea and distorts the problems of the nation. This destructive perspective has given pain to many citizens.
He said, “We have lost former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun during the Lee Myung-bak administration. Their passing symbolically illustrates the breakdown of the Lee Myung-bak administration.”
Basically, Roh committed suicide because of his wife’s bribery scandal. He was shocked by the scandal, and when the prosecutors questioned him, he jumped off a cliff out of fury and humiliation. And Kim died of multiple organ failure at the age of 83. How can the failure of the state be responsible for the mental and physical health of former presidents?
Moon has also said, “The Lee Myung-bak administration turned back the clock, and democracy and human rights retreated. Instability has made citizens frustrated and desperate.” But the truth is, the opposition parties and opponents of the administration have attacked and ridiculed the president and public authority for the last five years.
Protesters of U.S. beef imports threatened to march into the Blue House. They lynched police officers and the president was driven out to the mountain behind the Blue House. An angry protester crushed a police car with an excavator, and another drove a car into a police station. The police could barely respond. The license protesters took was amazing. An opposition party Supreme Council member said at a rally, “The administration should be killed.” An opposition lawmaker said that the first lady did everything to pocket money. Authority and public power, not democracy and human rights, have retreated in the past few years.
Moon claimed that as we pursue growth, privilege and corruption, self-righteousness and obstinacy, discord and conflict become prevalent. Are we living in such a backward, terrible country? Korea is the only country to get its sovereign credit rating upgraded by three major credit rating agencies. Korea is the fifth-largest industrial country and seventh-largest exporter. Korea won the fifth most gold medals in the Olympics.
Most of all, we have overcome 35 years of colonial rule and a devastating war and accomplished economic growth, democracy, solid state finances and one of the most reliable national health insurance systems. What’s to be so gloomy about?
Moon denounced the good of the South and defends the evil of the North. “The trust between the South and North carefully built through 10 years of democratic governments has collapsed. Peace has failed, and security is incompetent,” he said. As a matter of fact, however, what threatened the peace was North Korea’s nuclear development and attacks on the Cheonan warship and Yeonpyeong Island. The “sunshine policy” of Kim Dae-jung bought time and gave dollars to Pyongyang. The man who is running for president has not said a word about North Korea’s responsibility.
The Kim Dae-jung administration was born with a partnership with Kim Jong-pil, the second man in Park Chung Hee’s coup. The Roh Moo-hyun administration and presidential candidate Moon Jae-in would not have existed if it weren’t for the coalition. So the root of Moon Jae-in’s rise in politics may be Park’s May 16 coup. But he didn’t visit Park’s grave at the National Cemetery.
He is denying his history and that of the Republic of Korea. Is that a form of healing?
* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kim Jin