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[Opinion] Party Colors

Posted February. 18, 2004 23:20,   


Every Korean political party has its own colors. The Grand National Party (GNP) uses the color blue to represent their party’s ideal of a free democracy. The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) uses both green to represent the people’s good living and prosperity, and blue to represent hope. The Uri Party’s symbol is a yellow background with blue line in the middle. The United Liberal Democrats (ULD), a conservative party, ironically represents the liveliness of their party with green.

The Democratic and the Republican parties have such long histories that they cannot be compared to those of Korean ones. However, they do not have special colors to represent them. The color red for the Republicans and blue for the Democrats are perceived as the colors for both parties because many TV election reports or newspaper articles have used them, but they are not based on any firm symbolization by the parties. The colors are used both by two parties in their homepages, and they have no explanation for any specific colors.

The symbol of the Republican Party is an elephant, and a donkey represents the Democratic Party. There are various accounts on these, but the most well known is that they originated from Thomas Nast’s sarcastic cartoons in 1874. To warn against the possibility of President Ulysses Grant’s running for a third presidency, he drew a huge elephant in his cartoons and its surprised counterpart was a donkey, a democrat. The Republican Party boasts that an elephant is a strong and smart animal while finding faults with the Democratic donkey as erroneous and stupid. The Democratic also boasts that a donkey is modest and friendly and says that the other party is a stubborn and stupid animal.

In the general election in April, the supporters of the MDP and the Uri Party might be confused because of the colors. The leaders of both parties are involved in “a color competition” against each other, with yellow jumpers and scarves. It is quite contrary to the political parties in the U.S. which have their own distinct colors in policy making without publicizing any symbolic colors for themselves. The colors of the parties should naturally be revealed in their policies, not through any irrelevant symbolism to their true character. The dispatch bill to Iraq and the Korea-Chile FTA ratification bill were passed after many problems. Both parties will have to ask themselves what colors they were in regard to these two bills.

Correspondent Kwon Soon-taek from Washington, maypole@donga.com