This race isn’t what you call educationalThe campaign for the superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education is getting out of control. One candidate, Cho Jun-hyuk, during a phone conversation with another candidate, Cho Young-dal, cursed their female rival Park Sun-young, calling her a “crazy bitch.” They also used foul language about Cho Young-dal, who is suspected of having leaked the conversation.
The two are said to have discussed an electoral alliance and lashed out at Park as she was expected to finish the race. Even in a nail-biter of a race, a candidate running for an education chief post should never use dirty language against another candidate.
Cho in a column to an online media in December raised ethics question about the Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung for cursing his sister-in-law and argued taped conversation should be a reliable guide to judging the personality of a candidate running for office. He might regret that sentiment now.
Park and Cho raised questions about their own eligibility. They have been exchanging nasty words since discussing fielding one candidate from the conservative camp against liberal candidate Cho Hee-yeon, who is running for a third term. Instead of competing on policy platforms, they have been arguing to gain more favorable terms for their upper grounds in the process of choosing one candidate. They repeatedly broke off agreement.
The education chief of Seoul is responsible for 900,000 students in Seoul. Higher morality and dignified character are required for the post. But their behavior so far have been vulgar. Even if any of them win the election by luck, none can set an example for students.
Given the hostility, singling out one candidate to challenge a sitting superintendent could be difficult. Some suspect they are merely aiming to sustain approval rating instead of defeating Cho with a strong lead.
Cho is also not a person to speak of morality. He was investigated as the first case by the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials. Even if he gets elected, a by-election is inevitable if he is found guilty in court. The candidates are professors or served as a lawmaker. But they have not acted up to their social status. Is an election among unqualified candidates meaningful?