Dear president-elect, some advice
Now you have the world in your hands. Everyone around you is celebrating your victory. But reporters joke that a presidential candidate disappears the moment she becomes president-elect. The candidate we covered every day is nowhere to seen.
The winner of the election is surrounded by bodyguards and contact is restricted. I told one of the junior reporters going out to cover the candidate yesterday, “You need to make sure you get good coverage today. You may never see the candidate in person again.”
You will be surrounded by a curtain of cronies. Only a few people get to meet the president-elect. They are the so-called inner circle, and we all will be waiting for them to speak on your behalf. Of course, there is the Internet and telephones, so you may think you can still communicate. But the channels are limited. After a while, it is so easy to lose your eyes and ears.
But you know so well that the power is not entirely yours. You are borrowing authority for a while. However, those in power seem to forget it is transient. Power is not the destination, but a means to get to the destination. The citizens entrusted you with the power and authority so that you can become a good leader.
Do you want to be a good president? Then you have to be careful with promotions and appointments. These decisions are symbolic of how you will communicate with citizens. All candidates promise fair personnel decisions. You should keep that promise. Citizens will be watching you. Don’t promote people just because you know them personally. You have to consider a wide pool of talented and qualified candidates. It doesn’t matter if the best candidate supports the other side. Not so long ago, the Lee Myung-bak administration was harshly criticized for promotions based on regional, educational and religious connections. The standard is applied to your formation of the presidential transition committee.
Embrace differences. The most heartbreaking part of the election was the division. It was an all-or-nothing game, but the negative attacks were excessive. You have to mend those wounds. If you feel grudges because of personal attacks, you will create more discord. You should be even more kind to those who didn’t support you.
Please consider revising the Constitution. The president is given too much power, so the competition becomes overly fierce. Once a president is elected, people will try to please you excessively and manipulate communication. The system in the 1987 Constitution has reached its limit. The new Constitution must reflect political and social changes. We already have reached a consensus on the need, so please address the issue soon. We hope to see a leader we can respect until the last day in the Blue House.
* The author is a deputy editor of political news of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Shin Yong-ho