No more childish politiciansThe 2016 civilian movement of Korea in the uniquely peaceful form of orderly candlelight vigils to dethrone a president that has betrayed the people and shamed the nation’s institutions and Constitution underscored the people’s respect for honesty, nonviolence, and institutions.
Although outraged by the preposterous wrongdoings of the president and her inner circles, the people contained themselves from violence and abided by legal proceedings of impeaching the president, the only legal option to dismiss a sitting president under current Constitution. In contrast, politicians appear to not have learned from the mature civilians and remain opportunistic and selfish.
Saenuri Party Rep. Lee Hye-hoon claimed she has heard from the wives of rich families that Cho Yoon-sun, a former senior presidential secretary, used to treat Choi Soon-sil, controversial friend of President Park Geun-hye, like a queen. Cho, now a minister of culture, has been raided by an independent counsel for involvement with the scandal. Cho claimed she has never met Choi and filed defamation charge against Lee.
It is an eyesore to watch a long-term ruling party lawmaker exchange accusations with a minister that used to be on the same side before the scandal with the impeached president spilled over. Lee’s exposure without specifying the basis for the accusation appears to be ill-intended. Another Saenuri Party lawmaker, Kyung Dae-soo, publicly said he would follow Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General who recently pronounced his intent to run for the next presidency as long as it isn’t for a communist party. It is embarrassing to hear an elected politician openly claim he is willing to leave his fate and political future in the hands of a particular person instead of following a bigger design for the nation and political philosophy.
The opposition Minjoo Party, which now commands the most seats in the legislature after the breakup of the ruling party, announced that party members would skip the tombs of presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee during their New Year’s pilgrimage to former leaders. It was obviously riding on the popular outrage against the president who is the daughter of Park ahead of the next presidential election. As the largest political party, it has the duty to be impartial to the country’s legitimate legacy. Choo Mi-ae, head of the Minjoo Party, is contradicting herself, as she had attempted to pay respect to Rhee and Park’s tombs upon the inauguration in August. We hope to see no more childish acts from politicians in the new year.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 30, Page 30