Emotion Got In The Way Of Democracy
Emotion Got In The Way Of Democracy
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2004.04.22 00:00
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   On March 12, the National Assembly voted to begin impeachment proceedings against President Roh Moo-hyun. I first heard the news on the radio, when I was on the bus to school. My first reaction, as well as the reaction of other passengers was, ?hat? I was shocked; I have never imagined such an action to be possible, and I guess neither have most people in Korea, whether they agreed with the idea or not. Actually, saying "Shocked" is putting it mildly.
   However, more shocking were the events that followed this news. Various opinions from diverse groups mainly divided into two sides: the anti-impeachment camp, whose supporters called the day "A dark day in the Korean democracy," and the pro-impeachment camp, whose followers named the day "A victory for the Korean democracy." This issue totally split our nation. The media began a daily coverage of the struggles between different political parties, and between people who are on the opposite sides of the argument.
   I found myself dragged into this battleground, where people talk, talk, and no one ever listens to others. I understand that the presidential impeachment should be seriously considered and discussed because it is a big issue that could bring enormous change to our political system. However, both political sides showed similar characteristics, which can be traced in the immaturity and failure of our democracy. Ethical values and dignity suddenly disappeared, and debates filled with malicious insults and rumor-filled arguments. It seemed that the presidential impeachment was not regarded as an issue that relates in any way to democracy. Even so, politicians made sure to include the word ?emocracy in every claim they made, even in the improper language they used and in the selfish actions they took to offend the opposing side.
Last week, when I was passing by the campus, I heard an Ewhaian say to her friend, "I think the impeachment thing was a bit too harsh, but now I hope the Constitutional Court will pass the impeachment. Confused by her comment, I kept listening." She continued, "How the split has grown into a conflict and if one side attains "Victory," then the other side cannot stand unharmed. Surely, the impeachment angered President Roh and his supporters, and if he is rehabilitated, I'm sure he will try to get revenge. At first, I laughed inwardly, for her thought seemed childish. But later, when I searched for a different point of view, her words popped back up into my mind."
   Everything was decided by people driven by emotion, not reason. The process of the impeachment, the confrontations and the debates, and all the other events that followed offended feelings on both sides. People became too emotional. Not considering what is right and what is wrong, what is relevant and reasonable to say, they spoke whatever their hearts let them speak. However, a great lesson was learned from this experience: A debate can never change opinions. I believe that democracy does not come on its own, but it comes with justice, freedom, and equality. And it comes from reason. Before advocating democracy, let's face on our situation: the absence of justice.

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