Outdoor rallies backfireThe opposition Democratic Party has again resorted to waging its political battles outside the boundaries of the legislature, this time in protest of the government and ruling Saenuri Party’s uncooperative attitudes toward investigations of the National Intelligence Service’s alleged meddling in the December presidential election.
In a hurriedly arranged press conference Wednesday, DP Chairman Kim Han-gill said, “Our party will enter a state of emergency now,” underscoring that he himself will lead a national movement to restore democracy and reform the nation’s top spy agency. The DP has set up the movement’s headquarters at Seoul City Hall Plaza, seeking to draw public support, and held the first outdoor meeting for its lawmakers there. “I have a strong conviction that tens of thousands of citizens will join our crusade, carrying lit candles in their hands,” Kim said.
We understand the DP’s fury at the Saenuri Party, as the ruling party staged a de facto “filibuster” to avoid its accountability concerning the NIS’s alleged postings of pro-Park Geun-hye messages on the Internet. In fact, Saenuri obstructed the legislative probe into the scandal three times, dragged its feet for nearly three weeks and still refuses to summon a few core suspects. Moreover, Hwang Woo-yea, chairman of the ruling party, left for Warsaw to preside over a meeting on North Korean human rights even after proposing a meeting to find a breakthrough in the stalemate.
Kim’s remarks - that he is fed up with the Saenuri’s insulting inaction - are understandable. But we must ask if the opposition party really did its best to play the role of the main opposition. We wonder if the party concentrated on the core issue of the fiasco: How to reform the NIS. Besides, who recently fired off so many ugly words at President Park? Did the party think it was enough to strike a blow against the president and humiliate the ruling party?
We also wonder if the opposition party really has chosen the right way to fight back. The ruling party these days is unlikely to be affected by outdoor rallies by opponents. As some political pundits have joked, “It’s easy to get people out, but very difficult to come back.” Kim quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.” But King also said, “In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” Is the DP doing so?