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[Opinion] Reformation And Consumers

Posted August. 30, 2001 09:53,   


The expectation of the press for President Kim Dae-Jung, who spent three and a half year out of his 5 year presidential post, is to recover his original intention and aim. The reason that people talk about original intention is because his original intention and promises are not either kept or progressed the same way. Nowadays, people also ask, ``Why does president do things like that?`` In fact, if we look at presidential public event or meeting, his countenance does not look good. Indeed, we can hardly find successful administration including South-North relationship, economy, education, health and welfare, and labor-management relations. Maybe this is the reason of his uncomfortable countenance. In this sense, one cannot but say that President`s leadership has not been as good as it was. This means that his support group is not as good as it was, since the leadership comes from national support and agreement.

No matter where the political power lies, there are support groups who sustain the political power. In the time of President Park Jung- Hee, it was the army, officials and Youngnam power. Current political power had succeeded to gain political power due to Honam power, labor union, and DJP joint power. Yet government failed to occupy major seats in the National Assembly.

Although government officially approved Korean Federation of Trade Union and National Federation of Education Union, the relationship between the labor and government is not as good as it used to be. DJP joint relationship also is in the edge although it went through ups and downs together somehow. Recently, JP relationship related to presidential election looks also very insecure. Moreover, conflict between the ruling party and Chung Wa Dae surrounding Kim Jung-Kwan representative of the Democrats is also serious. I wonder if ruling party knows that this kind of conflict weakens leadership and authority of the party. The problem lies in the fact that the ruling party forgets its status as a minor ruling party, or in the arrogance coming from forgetfulness as a minor ruling party. The product of the arrogance is the recurring irrational number coming from the effort to keep the DJP relationship. After all, the poor progress in the reformation results from discord between leadership and national agreement. Then why is this the case?

The first mistake can be seen in the relationship with the opposition party. I think that the ruling party was too harsh on the opposite parties, thinking that it should win the political fight. The ruling party often says, ``The opposite parties always try to find faults even in trivial affairs, how can we put up with this?``

But this is not the attitude that the ruling party should take. The ruling party should make harmony in the midst of dissonance and drive the reformation energetically. If it just says, `How can we?`, then it does not deserve the title, `Ruling Party` If the ruling party wants to attribute the poor progress in reformation to the opposition parties, it should not have tried to reform from the beginning. If the ruling party were not busy attending `President with a Nobel Peace Prize`, but busy in driving reformation, the current authoritative attitude of the ruling party would not have formed. The `Imperial President` to refer to President Kim indeed explains a lot.

The second crucial mistake is its relationship with people. This is a very common mistake among politicians, but the mistake is more serious since it has been committed by ruling party.

Politicians still tend to regard people as voters, and we know well how the pork-barreling puts our nation into a difficult situation in many ways.

In conclusion, people are not voters. They are consumers of the goods of politics. So far, voters have thought, `Who would fight for me against the corrupt power?`. But not any more. They think, `Which parties` policy would bring benefit to my daily life?`

The motto of `the second establishment of a country` was quite nonsense to those consumers who are sensitive to the practical benefit from politics. Moreover, education, health and welfare reformation is still not clear, and accordingly consumers lost their expectation. In politics, nothing is more important than expectation and hope. The ruling party, in a way, was a novice of politics. The time has already gone when the macro- discourse led the country.

Choi Kyu-Chul kihang@donga.com