The Seekers of Power
Originally Published: March 27th, 2014 – When Park, Geun-Hye, the daughter of Korean authoritarian Park, Chung-Hee, announced her candidacy leading up to the 2012 presidential election, it surprised few in Korea. At the time, I, in a whisper, warned my friends and followers alike, that the appointment of a dictator’s daughter is apt to rekindle the pre-90’s czarism in South Korea. It seemed once again, like the familiar waves beating against a compelled shoreline, a fate, one of subjugation and paralyzing political disparity, seemingly destined to plague the people of Korea unendingly.
A political insider, a real player of the finest caliber in the political circles, the now President Park, back then seemed equally adept at swaying popular support as ‘taking out’ her political adversaries before they even knew they were in the game. Park understood that she could stay relevant and bathe in the adjunct popularity of her predecessor, then president, Mr. Lee, Myung-Bak, all the while putting on the usual theatrical show for the masses as his chief objector, concurrently, and indeed in reality, his back-room political collaborator.
In 2010, some called my soothsaying ‘sensational’ and thusly unsound. Well, now we are well into her administration. It’s clear that the kind old ladies with colourful numbered jackets and white gloves who paired up with the powerful, unnamed men in choked, begrimed back-rooms who dealt out the necessary political capital, have won. Unions and the franchise, lost.
In a dictatorship, transparency is an abstraction; foreign in its absoluteness. For the daughter of a dictator, the accountability and translucence fundamental to a robust democracy is but a superfluous academic pursuit. It is, to her, just a word that will, and indeed was (to) be pulled out and used during the stumping on a two-year campaign tour, but easily forgotten as she later took her place at the thrown of this fair Republic.
The masses here have elected autocrats and oligarchs, rebels and outsiders, and each time they end every new abbreviated dynasty with the same set of characters, mercenaries, or simply put politicians for hire, the lowest form of life in the free and democratic experiment. These one-term tyrants, Korea’s “profiteering republicans” leave office only to spend their remaining years fighting off courts and their political enemies.
If this adolescent democracy is to break this endless pattern of racketeering, they need to create a system by which the promise of affluence so low and the threat of successful and meaningful prosecution so high, as to terrorize any potential candidate in controlling their conduct while in office. Democracies are always at their best when there is a healthy distrust for the government by its people and a willing, capable ombudsman ready to defend the union.
Story Update: Park Geun-Hye, the 11th President of South Korea, and the first female, is currently suspended from her powers and duties amidst impeachment proceedings. On the 9th of December 2016, Park was impeached by the National Assembly on charges related to influence peddling by a top aide.
Story Update: On April 06th, 2018, Park was sentenced to 24 years in prison.