Some lingering questions for Moon

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Some lingering questions for Moon

Chang Se-jeong
The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The Moon Jae-in administration’s five-year term is about to end. Moon will leave the Blue House around 6 p.m. on May 9, and he will become a former president. Starting May 10, the era of President Yoon Suk-yeol will begin. Over 50 percent of the people, according to polls, have said they yearn for a new administration, so the past five years must have passed slowly for many people.

In contrast, ruling Democratic Party (DP) politicians must have felt an incredibly deep sense of loss after five years in power. “It is crucial for us to win the next election for the [Moon’s] policies to take root,” DP Chairman Lee Hae-chan said in August 2018. “For policies to take root, it takes at least 10 to 20 years.” As Lee strongly promoted the importance of the DP to govern for the next 20 years, we have to wonder what he is feeling now.

After the country reintroduced direct presidential elections in 1987, the right and the left took turns every 10 years to run the country. That pattern was broken for the first time in the March 9 presidential election.

“I never came up on the boxing ring,” Moon recently said, but the election defeat of the DP must have been most painful for him. KTV and the Blue House jointly created a four-part documentary, “Records of the five years of the Moon Jae-in administration, a country that no one can shake.” Moon’s feeling of uneasiness and uncomfortableness was apparent after the DP lost the election. Moon even used a JTBC program to promote his accomplishments in an unusually strident voice, and his remarks were largely far-fetched self-compliments.

As the programs were all filled with self-praise without any reflection, they felt empty. The programs shared one unacceptable thing in common. They both featured the nonsense that Moon was good at communicating with the public. He cannot avoid criticism that he was no different from past presidents when we look at the number of press conferences he held. When a politically unfavorable issue emerged, he hurried to hide. But the programs described him as a president who was good at communicating.

Although Moon is about to conclude his term, some questions remain unanswered. For the sake of the truth, I leave a few questions.

First, did Moon truly work for the ordinary person? Because of his failed policies, real estate prices skyrocketed and the people who do not own homes suffered. And yet, he blamed low interest rates for the real estate price surge. Who can possibly agree with that argument?

Second, did Moon truly think about the future of our younger generation? He was obsessed with the income-led growth policy and increased the minimum wage drastically, causing the self-employed to shut their businesses and young part-time workers to lose jobs. Over the last five years, he increased the number of public servants by 130,000, raising the people’s tax burden. In contrast, he did nothing for pension reforms.

Third, can Moon really call himself a human rights lawyer? As he put politics before science, many people suffered from his Covid-19 policies. He never kept a promise to the son of a maritime public servant brutally killed by North Korea. He promised to take responsibility for people’s lives and promoted “people first” policies, but his character as a human rights lawyer was hardly seen.

Fourth, did Moon truly believe North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s will to denuclearize? If he did, he is naïve and irresponsible. The law banning the distribution of propaganda leaflets to the North deprived the North Korean people of their right to know about the true nature of their regime. North Korean defectors were treated as traitors in the South. We wasted five years to promote the campaign of peace and now North Korea is threatening to use nuclear weapons against South Korea. Moon has caused a serious security crisis.

Last, did Moon truly love the Republic of Korea, a liberal democracy? We wonder what his explanation will be for the people’s opinions that freedom and democracy have regressed in this country over the past five years.

Moon repeatedly said he wants to be forgotten when he ended his term in office. We hope his humble dream comes true.
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