NEW - download 'Seoul VillageS (서울 마을들)', my collection of 12 short fictions! Get your free copy of the ebook (4 editions: English, French, Korean, Bilingual English-Korean)!

Monday, April 15, 2024

Short termed, short sighted

For the second time in a row, the left won in a landslide elections they were losing a few weeks earlier: in 2020, COVID19 replaced the election by a self congratulatory referendum on how the nation contained the pandemic, and in 2024, the executive power piled up unforced errors at an almost comical pace. In-between, conservatives did win the 2022 presidential election, but only by the narrowest of margins, a litany of gaffes and disastrous campaign choices almost fully depleting the considerable headstart the unpopular outgoing administration had kindly granted them.

YOON Suk-yeol simply forgot his core mission: restoring Korea's moral compass following the PARK Geun-hye and MOON Jae-in failures. Instead of defusing crises by discarding bad apples early on, he stubbornly protected people who kept undermining his whole administration, and reforms led by moderate pragmatists went unnoticed as reactionaries sparked new outrage all over the place. The former prosecutor never understood what politics and campaigning entail, never realized how disconnected he looks, never measured how good PR at home matters more than easy stunts overseas. 

If we all knew he wasn't much of a visionary leader, we didn't suspect him to be that blind. YOON can't remain this clumsy, old school administrator wasting time and energy micromanaging everything instead of delegating and focusing on the big picture. Typically, why put yourself in the position of the target for a reform as tricky as healthcare, when presidents usually use ministers as fuses they can discard when things go sour?

Now this lame duck has no choice but to take a step back, get rid of the swarm of old* retrogrades torpedoing his every moves, and focus on his core mission with a more inclusive approach. Get the nation ready for its next big crisis (Trump 2?)... If he can.

Now YOON is not the only major loser of these elections.

Yes there was simply no contest between a well oiled blue machine and a rickety red mess, yes the record turnout (67%, a 32-year high) made even clearer the victory of the former, but for all that progressives didn't win either.

The left (in blue, and also on the left of the map) won 63.6% of all districts (81% in the capital region)

Because LEE Jae-myung managed to get rid of all opposition within his ranks, leaving no platform for the progressives and moderates who wanted to restore the values of KIM Dae-jung and ROH Moo-hyun to stand upon.

LEE is clearly not a KIM or a ROH, an inspiring leader with a strong sense of justice. More like TRUMP, he mostly cares about himself and avoiding justice, and his program essentially consists in retribution against his opponents.

Actually, YOON's failure is best illustrated by LEE Jae-myung, CHOO Mi-ae, and CHO Kuk emerging as the ultimate winners. The first words of CHO Kuk, as exit polls predicted a supermajority for the left, said it all: it was all about changing the constitution, impeaching president YOON Suk-yeol and PPP interim leader HAN Dong-hoon. But exit polls were spectacularly off the mark, and the left didn't increase its tally all the way to the 200 seats that would have enabled CHO's dreams.

Where's the hope? Where's the vision for the future?  Who can emerge left or right to prevent a LEE Jae-myung presidency or another disappoinment? 

And how will LEE himself evolve to seize the opportunity? Because LJM is not DJT; he's much smarter, he knows that he can't hide anymore, that he must propose something with his large majority. Maybe expose new faces, new masks to hide behind.

Korea can't hide anymore either. Demographics, the long neglected elephant in the room, have at last become a national emergency. Like the environment, North Korea, the economy, justice, internal divisions.

I keep hoping common sense and common ground will prevail, but time is running out.

Seoul Village 2024
Welcome to our Korean Errlines! Follow Seoul Village on Facebook and Twitter, follow me on Instagram.
Download 'Seoul VillageS', the free ebook.
Bookmark and Share

* as well as the young ones. LEE Jun-seok has survived the blue tsunami and remains a toxic nuisance.

books, movies, music