‘He’s not someone to do that’
The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
“I have too many selves in me, so there’s no place for you to rest. Darkness in me that I cannot control takes away your resting place.”
“Bramble” released in 1988 is, in fact, a song about religion. Songwriter Ha Deok-kyu, now a pastor, said he wanted to talk about the sins of humans being shaken before God. The imagery has changed somewhat, as singer Jo Sung-mo presented a gangster story in the music video for the remake version of the song.
“He’s not someone to do that.” Claims of alleged sexual harassment by Mayor Park Won-soon were buried by the words within the Seoul city government. After the isolated victim chose to report after four years of harassment, Mayor Park chose death. Humans are self-splitting beings.
They hide their contradictions behind their personas. Privacy is the place where the self, exhausted by contradiction, takes a rest. Park’s tragedy started when he used public power in his private life. The tragedy could have been prevented if those around Park had a little understanding of the inner side of humans.
Humans feel uncomfortable when new information contradicts their existing beliefs, creating cognitive dissonance. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) firmly decided not to acknowledge the discomfort. They responded by saying, “He was a good-hearted person” and “I will remember his messages.”
When a reporter asked about a party-level response, the ruling party head cursed him. A pro-ruling party female prosecutor even posted a photo of herself locking arms with Park, writing in a mocking tone, “I was also sexually harassed by him.”
The intellectuals within the liberal camp are caught up in a heavy dilemma. Seoul education superintendent Cho Hee-yeon confessed to confusion in a tribute to Park published in Hankyoreh Newspaper. “How should I understand the contradiction of the aspect of a human rights lawyer and a completely different aspect coexisting? With his death, I asked myself if I looked at the world and people from a dichotomic view of good and bad.” But the general sentiment of the DP is to refuse to acknowledge the accuser’s claims. Otherwise, they wouldn’t use the bizarre expression, “petitioner for damage.”
The defense of the DP for various scandals has always been the logic that allegations do not suit their character as defenders, as seen in cases involving former justice minister Cho Kuk, Rep. Yoon Mee-hyang, former South Chungcheong Gov. Ahn Hee-jung, and former Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don.
When allegations of civilian surveillance by a Blue House special investigation team were raised in 2018, then-Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-gyeom said that the Moon Jae-in administration did not have such DNA running through his blood and veins.
There cannot be a human in an aseptic room separated from reality. A person gets inevitably stained. For instance, if it had not been for Gen. Paik Sun-yup who went to the Manchuria military school during the Japanese colonial era, there could not have been Gen. Paik, a Korean War hero. It is self-righteousness not to acknowledge the inevitable human contradiction and complexity. Can the sitting power that does not admit human errors check itself?
I don’t agree to the attempt to find the cause of sexual scandals involving ruling party figures from the culture of liberal faction. But I feel greater betrayal because they claimed to have pure DNA. I feel frustrated by the response of turning everything into factional rhetoric.
Psychologically, human growth is a process of controlling and managing internal split. The extreme dichotomy of “the good and the bad” is a sign of mental illness or immaturity. The administration prioritizes power over people. They should begin by studying people first.
More in Columns
Room for alignment
A cautionary tale
A government in disarray
China’s thin skin