An unconvincing transformationPARK JIN-SEOK
The author is a national news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
The ancient adage that politics should be about doing what is right feels ancient these days. President Moon Jae-in says the saying is his life motto. But what comes from the mouths of politicians is rarely right. Austrian author Stefan Zweig said that “Truth and politics rarely live under the same roof.”
Politicians can’t have been born as liars. They have evolved to mold speech to please supporters rather than following their principles and the truth. Only a minority would actually speak the truth.
Before entering politics, politicians were revered in their fields of expertise. Their speeches were listened to by the people. But once they became politicians, their credibility sinks. The sincerity of their past behaviors and remarks are doubted. They are suspected to have said or done everything for their own political ambitions.
The skepticism grows more on people whose influence was big in their professional field. Judges who turned into politicians come under heavy fire. Their rulings are doubted for having been politically motivated.
Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl will likely become the next to fall under that cruel public judgment. He did not proclaim that he would seek political office as soon as he resigned from office, but the way he behaved until his resignation surely followed the manual of a politician-aspirant. Once he enters politics, his history and behavior as chief prosecutor will come into doubt. His firm challenge of the sitting power while in office will also be suspected to have been motivated by his political ambitions based on his affiliation with a certain political party.
What’s done is done. But personally, I wish he would not join politics. I hope he can save his own legacy as the first chief prosecutor who has defended his organization from political pressure and moved on. His transformation into a politician will certainly nibble away at all the reputation he has built so far. Given his trajectory as an upright prosecutor, I can hardly find strong reason for him to enter the world of politics as we know it.