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Shameful Constitution Day

Posted July. 17, 2010 11:56,   


The fundamental spirit of the Constitution is liberal democracy, equal opportunity and political neutrality of the military and civil service. Under the authoritarian government in 1987, the country got on the fast track toward democratization after the 9th Amendment to the Constitution that year. Basic human rights such as freedom of expression, protection of privacy, and the guarantee of a criminal suspect’s right to self-defense have been significantly promoted. A number of cases running counter to the Constitution are cause for shame, however, especially on the occasion of the 62nd Constitution Day.

The suspected torture by police in Seoul’s Yangcheon district and an illegal inspection by the Prime Minister’s Office of a private citizen show blind spots in domestic human rights. The Korean Government Employees’ Union and the Korea Teachers and Education Workers` Union routinely commit acts violating neutrality under the Constitution. The progressive Democratic Labor Party and other leftist civic groups often break constitutional law through activities that breach basic democratic order. Turning a blind eye to human rights horrors in North Korea, which is the territory of the Republic of Korea under the Constitution, the left-wing groups conduct pro-Pyongyang behavior that violates the spirit of the Constitution.

More than a few instances in the economy and education distort the constitutional spirit of “equal opportunity” as “mechanical equality.” A case in point is the argument that acknowledging excellence in education violates egalitarianism. This incorrect perception of equality hampers efforts to enhance educational competitiveness.

Certain groups argue that the freedom to assemble and demonstrate is a divine right. This claim, however, disregards public security and order that is in the interest of the majority of the people and cannot be justified in the name of democracy. The National Assembly failed to meet the June 30 deadline set by the Constitutional Court for revising the law on assemblies and demonstrations, turning Korean society into a haven for evening rallies.

The loss of the Constitution’s spirit stems from forgetting that the Constitution is the roots and bones of the Republic of Korea. The president and the government should demonstrate their firm determination to respect and abide by the spirit and value of the country’s highest set of laws. The National Assembly should erase its shameful history of violence by strictly adhering to democratic procedures in legislation. The judiciary must also render verdicts loyal to the spirit of the Constitution and prevent biased rulings. Ultimately, the people are the ones responsible for monitoring and deterring society’s anti-constitutional behavior that undermines the spirit of the Constitution.