A meaningless warThe Saturday public rallies in the downtown streets of Seoul that began in October against the scandal-ridden President Park Geun-hye administration are showing worrying signs. Violent rightist supporters of the president have joined the streets ahead of the impeachment trial at the Constitutional Court. The older generation says the country has never been so divided since the aftermath of liberation from Japanese colonial rule over what government system the liberated nation should run on. The rallies had been peaceful. The crowd would boo whenever some extremists behaved and shouted disrespectfully or got out of order.
But last weekend, the head of Parksamo, a die-hard group supporting President Park, declared a change in the rally and said it would go “entirely different” from the past peaceful ways within the law’s permissible boundaries. The banner cries became violent, declaring “patriotic revolt was the life” and some even urged the president to proclaim martial law.
Some of the extreme leftists also became brazen. A group calling itself the People’s Democracy Party criticized the main opposition Democratic Party for being too soft and demanded the opposition and people involved in the peaceful rally to stage “democratic revolt” if the impeachment is not passed by the Constitutional Court.
Politics in a democracy has a duty to prevent a revolution. Presidential candidates from the opposition should plead with people to respect court rulings and constitutional order instead of joining the street rallies. Park also should not think of raising her hopes amid fiery signs from rallies of support. She should start preparing for her withdrawal. What is the use of reinstating a president who wrecked the country?
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 20, Page 30