In his speech for the first Youth Day on Saturday, President Moon Jae-in expressed his determination to to eradicate tax evasion, violence in sports and irregularities surrounding military service, saying, “I hear the younger generation’s demand for ‘fairness’ loud and clear and will make sure to deliver it to them.”
President Moon mentioned the word, “fairness”, 37 times in his speech as if to show it to young people who are sensitive to fairness. Speaking of the issue of converting contract security guards at Incheon International Airport Corporation to full-time employees that faced a backlash from young jobseekers, Moon said he would learn from it, saying, “Efforts to provide more security for contract workers were seen by some as closing the door on an opportunity for them.” However, he remained silent about Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae’s allegations that she abused her influence to help her son while he was serving in the military. The president just stated that he would root out injustice in education, employment and military service.
The allegations against Choo following the Cho Kuk scandal that polarized the nation last year has engaged the public, especially the younger generation. Choo’s son extended leave by phone when he was supposed to be back at the base, and Choo’s aide stepped in to help him. Although it was an unimaginable privilege for the majority of young South Korean men, the prosecution has been slow with its investigation and the ruling party went as far as to compare him to Korean independent activist An Jung-geun just to get him off the hook. This is why young people are now turning their back on them.
The situation is worsening as President Moon continues to remain silent about the issue. He should have criticized the prosecution for making slow progress and called for a swift investigation. Instead of making efforts to stamp out injustice, he just watched as his party split into two. It is high time he confronted why young people who were strong supporters of his when he took office are now walking away from him.
The enactment of the youth basic law and the establishment of the youth policy committee offers little comfort to young people. Everyone knows that speaking of fairness will not make society fairer. Uncovering truth and implementing effective measures that make sense to everyone, right or left, are what it takes to build a fairer society among others. A thorough investigation into Choo’s allegations should be done. Otherwise, it will plunge the nation into division again.