Stop the childish games, pleaseThe National Assembly’s annual audit of the government is turning into a circus - and in the center ring are our legislators. Done properly, the audits are supposed to reveal incompetence, laziness and other problems in the bureaucracy.
But all too often, political theater, squabbling and endless rehashing of previous political battles take the spotlight, leaving the public to look on wearily.
This year’s audit is turning into a sad example of the latter. We cannot see any examples of responsibility and dignity as independent constitutional representatives from the legislators, seated on opposite wings of the questioning tables. Legislators with the authority of an independent constitutional institution should concern themselves with the public interest, dignity, sovereignty and overseeing the administration.
During the Education Committee’s questioning of the National Institute of Korean History, members of the main opposition Democratic Party sat with their laptop computers displaying campaign banners that demanded the cancellation of a textbook published by a conservative publisher that contains dovish views of Japan’s colonial rule.
The members may have wanted to demonstrate their collective stance on this ideological issue, but it only made the audit look more like a political campaign event.
More comically, members of the ruling Saenuri Party soon displayed similar banners demanding the cancellation of textbooks that carry left-wing comments.
We want to know who exactly endorses this ridiculous children’s game. When the members finally ended their indecent showboating and commenced questioning, they suddenly found fault with the head of the institute on Korean history and demanded he leave the room immediately.
Their joint display of arrogance and indecency continued the following day. During questioning by the Assembly’s Security and Public Administration Committee of the National Police Agency, DP representative Kim Hyun addressed Commissioner-General Lee Sung-han mostly in shouts, calling him an incompetent coward for not coming up with direct answers.
Regardless of their role and the justice of their arguments, we have to ask what entitles legislators to humiliate people and act belligerently toward others in public.
The National Assembly audit has finally brought life back into the legislature, after it had been comatose for months due to the lengthy boycott by the opposition. Legislators still have time to prove that they are better, deserving of office. They must not waste their precious time on political wrangling and propaganda.