By Kang Hyun-kyung

Like a broken record, politicians say the same words again and again.

Unlike a broken record which repeats the same thing over and over again due to a mechanical malfunction, however, their repetition of the same message is a calculated action.

Repetition is one of the most effective ways to persuade and brainwash others to make them believe what you said is right.

Politicians know how insanity works in politics, and how quickly it perpetuates hatred and spreads fury by numbing their audience's ears, senses and eventually even their belief system.

The National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee's audit of the foreign ministry on the first day of its annual audit on Tuesday showed exactly how dysfunctional modern-day Korean politics is.

The annual event, which once served as an effective platform to look into whether Cabinet ministries and state-run companies worked well that year, has become a dull, stupid show as unprepared, self-serving and short-sighted politicians keep trying to abuse it as an opportunity to show their loyalty to their parties which they believe, will help them survive in the hyper-partisan parliament.

There are two different groups of people: deniers and followers.

Deniers always deny. Members of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) are deniers. Almost all of them asked the same questions to Foreign Minister Park Jin but wouldn't listen to what he was saying, as if they asked for the sake of asking. They rebuked and tried to "educate" the Cabinet member. They overly simplified what had happened.

The summit results during President Yoon Suk-yeol's recent trip to the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada have pitted the DPK against the ruling party.

According to the DPK lawmakers, President Yoon's brief meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York two weeks ago was a "48-second political show" designed to entertain domestic audiences. The Korea-Japan summit held for 30 minutes on the sidelines of the U.N. session was nothing more than "humiliating diplomacy" as Yoon "begged" Japanese Prime Minister Kishida for a photo session.

When asked, Minister Park said that he sees no outstanding problems in Korea's diplomacy since President Yoon took office on May 10.

His remarks infuriated DPK lawmaker Kim Sang-hee. Calling Park "an arrogant minister" who didn't learn lessons from past failures, Kim scolded him and demanded he answers her questions briefly without trying to persuade her.

Frustrated, Minister Park said that he regrets that President Yoon's summit diplomacy has become a political football.

The way the ruling People Power Party (PPP) lawmakers addressed the situation was not so different from their DPK counterparts. The ruling party members were single-minded followers, trying hard to curry favor with President Yoon.

Second-term lawmaker Kim Seok-ki defended President Yoon by reading a prepared speech. He didn't make eye contact with others because his eyes were stuck on the prepared manuscript seemingly to read it without making mistakes. "Contrary to DPK members' claim that President Yoon returned empty-handed, the president actually achieved a lot," he said. "They insist that the Yoon-Biden meeting was not a summit as it lasted only 48 seconds. I think they don't understand how summit talks work. Before that brief Yoon-Biden encounter, the two leaders saw each other twice in other places."

He then went on to lecture about summit diplomacy. According to him, how long leaders met didn't matter in summit talks because what the leaders do is just confirm what working-level officials previously agreed. "So, it's natural that leaders met briefly to conclude what working-level officials already agreed, isn't it?"

Park nodded, showing his endorsement of the lawmaker who sided with the president.

Watching the session was tiring as it featured a ceaseless quarrel between deniers who turn a blind eye to the entire forest while focusing on small trees and leaves, and President Yoon's brownnosing squad.

How has the annual audit found itself in such a sorry state?

In the past, the National Assembly audit was widely viewed as a platform through which stars were born as well as enabling the meteoric rise of lesser-known politicians to establish a reputation thanks to their sharp, penetrating questions and on-point skills to coax confessions from troubled Cabinet ministers or heads of state-run firms on their misjudgments or wasting of taxpayer money.

But this year's audit was nothing more than the tedious continuation of a partisan blame game lawmakers have been involved in all year long.

Three-term lawmaker Kim Tae-ho gave me an insight that can partly explain how the parliamentary annual audit came to lose its luster. He blamed the absence of political leadership, along with a systematic failure in the parliament about which he didn't specify, for having caused the lackluster parliamentary audit.

Taking the floor, he sighed and deplored the fact that partisan politics were in full swing despite the nation grappling with daunting internal and external challenges.

"Here in the Assembly, we, politicians are stuck in partisan politics. We're told a lot about a diplomatic disaster. But what I see is a political disaster," he said.

People like me expect the National Assembly to be the venue where the art and science of negotiations can blossom and help involved parties narrow their differences to reach an agreement.

But the parliament that we are seeing today has become a troubled entity wasting taxpayer money for the sake of the survival of selfish lawmakers. Partisan politics has come to the fore and neither side is willing to back down for the greater good of the people. Concessions have become another name for defeat. Democracy has been spoiled.


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Spoiled democracy

14 0 6
05.10.2022
By Kang Hyun-kyung

Like a broken record, politicians say the same words again and again.

Unlike a broken record which repeats the same thing over and over again due to a mechanical malfunction, however, their repetition of the same message is a calculated action.

Repetition is one of the most effective ways to persuade and brainwash others to make them believe what you said is right.

Politicians know how insanity works in politics, and how quickly it perpetuates hatred and spreads fury by numbing their audience's ears, senses and eventually even their belief system.

The National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee's audit of the foreign ministry on the first day of its annual audit on Tuesday showed exactly how dysfunctional modern-day Korean politics is.

The annual event, which once served as an effective platform to look into whether Cabinet ministries and state-run companies worked well that year, has become a dull, stupid show as unprepared, self-serving and short-sighted politicians keep trying to abuse it as an opportunity to show their loyalty to their parties which they believe, will help them survive in the hyper-partisan parliament.

There are two different groups of people: deniers and followers.

Deniers always deny. Members of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) are deniers. Almost all of them asked the same questions to Foreign Minister Park Jin but wouldn't listen to what he was saying, as if........

© The Korea Times


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