Stop divisive politicsThe comment President Moon Jae-in posted on Facebook to encourage and comfort nurses has come under fire for stirring division in the medical community. Despite his original intent to cheer nurses fighting against the coronavirus, the message on Facebook seemed to criticize doctors who had abandoned their work sites to strike against the government’s plans to set up a “public medical school” and increase the number of medical students to narrow the medical gap between Seoul and provinces.
Moon wrote, “Many have been hurt by the news of medical staff collapsing from heat and overwork at outside clinics to conduct coronavirus tests. Although the news article referred to them as medical staff, we all know they are nurses who were bearing the burden on behalf of doctors on a walkout.”
The narrow-minded wording and tone cannot be suited for a head of state. “It is unbelievable that the writing came from the president,” one blogger said. “Is the president out to break up the country?” another wrote. Even nurses claimed that they were confounded by the president’s biased and uncomfortable comments.
President Moon’s views reflect the ever-growing arrogance and pretentiousness of the ruling Democratic Party (DP). The government had pushed ahead with a plan to increase medical trainees without prior discussions with the medical community at a time the country was grappling with a resurgence of Covid-19. When doctors went on a strike, the government even likened them to soldiers who abandoned the battlefield.
Until recently, the government stole the spotlight for a relatively successful feat in containing the Covid-19 outbreak when the credit should go to the medical professionals. The government should have tried to convince doctors to return to the medical field instead of provoking them further and fueling division in the society.
Han Sang-jin, a professor emeritus of Seoul National University, observed that it was a tactic of the government to stoke division to strengthen its support base. The government has kept to dichotomy in dealing with the controversies over former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, real estate market and the trade dispute with Japan, by putting the blame on past administrations’ wrongdoings, the unearned wealth of the rich and pro-Japanese forces of the past. Lawmakers remain unregretful and proud. “What wrong has the president done?” Rep. Jung Chung-rae questioned.
The Blue House explained the controversial post was written by an aide “who misinterpreted the president’s thoughts.” If that is true, the president himself must set the record straight and stop his divisive rhetoric.