Indecent rhetoric of lawmakers

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Indecent rhetoric of lawmakers

“Those kids are really rough and rude.” I was a little shocked after watching “The Inheritors,” a television drama about a group of extremely impolite high school students. “If you want to wear the crown, you need to be able to stand the weight.” How heavy is the crown to make the kids so rude? I was curious and watched the drama from the first episode. I am not sure about the weight of the crown, but they certainly have to withstand their rude selves. It was laughable that the producers assumed that children of the top 0.1 percent of society inherit their “class” from their family and have no reason to learn to be courteous.

However, I must have jumped to conclusions. The behavior of the top 0.1 percent in our society actually proves that the writer was insightful to assume that rough, impolite attitudes may be handed down from parents to children. The members of the National Assembly are exposed to the public constantly, and they seem to be competing to see who can be more rude and rough. Recently, Unified Progressive Party Chairwoman Lee Jung-hee referred to the president as “Miss Park Geun-hye.” It would not matter if she weren’t the president, but it was quite rude to intentionally omit the title.

However, the ruling Saenuri Party’s floor spokesman, Kim Tae-heum, went too far by demanding Lee “apologize and wait for punishment.” It was completely anachronistic. I can’t event decide which side is more inappropriate. If the Saenuri Party recalls the things they called former President Roh Moo-hyun and if the opposition party also reminds themselves what they called former President Lee Myung-bak, they would instantly realize that they all have been guilty of referring to the head of state in such impolite language.

Another Saenuri Party lawmaker, Kim Jin-tae, has proven how rude and rough he can be by telling the protesters who picketed against President Park during her visit to Paris that they would “pay the price.” He threw a wet blanket over the festive mood set by the European tour of the president and, in a press conference, he justified his actions. He asked, “Is it so bad to say ‘pay the price?’” It is really worrisome that he does not know if his conduct was appropriate or not.

About a month ago on Hangul Day, the ruling and opposition party lawmakers agreed that politicians should improve their words. The minutes of the 19th National Assembly contained 377 rude or inappropriate remarks, and the lawmakers expressed regret about using indecent language. But soon enough, they resumed using the “regrettable words.”

I am even more concerned that the public is growing accustomed to the rough language of our legislators. I fear our children will assume that leaders can use foul language. We must remember that they are wrong to use such rude language.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


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