The shamelessness never endsAt a performance of a play by British playwright George Bernard Shaw, a single person in the audience booed. Shaw approached him and asked if he didn’t like the play. While taking a bow, Shaw said to the man, “My dear fellow, I quite agree with you, but what are we two against so many?”
The witty playwright is also known for rejecting a proposal from a beautiful actress. She said, “You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.” Shaw replied, “What if the child inherits my body and your brains?” But even the acerbic playwright kept his tongue when he was trying to persuade someone of something.
That’s what persuasion is all about. You can only expect another person to compromise when you keep yourself low. But it is a pathetic truth that the complacent politicians in Korea, whose job is to convince people, have no intention of lowering themselves to anyone or in any way.
The opposition party has been unyielding in the past, and the ruling party’s political reform proposal has also been rejected in the National Assembly. In fact, the proposal was quite far from reform. The idea of no pay for no work by representatives and a ban on book publishing parties would be considered a joke in other countries. It is understandable that the politicians’ pride has been wounded.
However, it is ridiculous that they claim to have been “hurt” so openly. They called the proposal a “political disaster that makes the party be seen as an obstruction to innovation,” and their brazen claim infuriates many of us. Before they experienced their bruised egos, the voters were seriously injured and harmed. If they really don’t understand how the proposal was drafted, they are truly childish and shameless.
Our National Assembly representatives would be shameless to even think about a raise in their pay considering the economic situation facing the country today. Once these political reform measures are accepted, there are real reforms and innovations that need to be implemented. They shouldn’t think that these minor proposals are the end of the line.
If they still reject the reform proposal, they are basically saying that they will not give up outdated privileges. It is absurd to think they have been trying to persuade the families of the Sewol victims to come to a compromise, or how they will convince civil servants to accept smaller pensions. “Evil of the world does not come from people or evil itself but from privilege.” If politicians want to get rid of their scarlet letters, they should keep in mind the saying of the 19th-century American politician John Stevens.
*The author is an international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 14, Page 35
by LEE HOON-BEOM