No big deal, democracy.

Park Jung-hee saying, “Had I brought my daughter into the scene earlier, I wouldn’t have had to be a dictator myself.” and “No big deal, democracy.”
(click the image to see the original cartoon)

In a single cut, the web celebrity cartoonist’s depiction right after the last month’s general election speaks it all. As the cartoon pictures, Park Geun-hye, the daughter of the late dictator, has definitely positioned herself to the throne by winning the election in such a disadvantageous situation.

(Or maybe it wasn’t that much disadvantageous. The poll result showed a serious discrepancy of public opinions between the capital area and and the rest. Social networks would have been an echo chamber of the capital area.)

It would be unreasonable to criticize a person for being someone’s daughter but she does not repent her father’s legacy at all. She once described the May 16 coup d’état as “the revolution to save the country.” Thanks to her father’s wealth, which was accumulated by force, she didn’t have to earn a living for her lifetime. Issues related to the private school foundations, which was plundered by her father from entrepreneurs including the founder of Samsung and she headed of, will continue to catch up her way to the Blue House.

Her remark on March that she have been feeling sorry for those who were accidentally suffered during the industrialization era, again, provoked immediate criticism for justifying her father’s dictatorship. We can obviously see that she does not regret her legacy at all and sadly, it seems that that’s why she is the most prevailing presidential candidate today. I felt the same embarrassment years ago when I found out that Imelda Marcos was elected to Congress twice after her coming back from exile.

Her father’s whispering in the cartoon, “no big deal, democracy,” makes me ponder what democracy really is for former colonist countries including SK, those who had to implement democracy whether they wanted it or not. Although I don’t think that Heidegger’s doubt about democracy is false or meaningless, my doubt about democracy in the third world is not on a level of democracy itself but of an institution that wasn’t constituted autogenously.

Somewhere on the earth, there goes a holy war to implement the only solution that is called democracy but as we have seen through history it doesn’t seem to be a universal remedy. There has to be, always, someone who takes advantage of newly grafted institution among these recently conquered territories. In short, it would be hard to grant a success for democracy if a voter turnout is dangling around, tolerantly, 50 per cent. From which could it advocate its legitimacy?

The last general election’s turnout was 54.3 per cent. And that of the French presidential election a few weeks ago was about 80 per cent. I don’t see any reason to be optimistic about the new French government but at least it has its own legitimacy anyway. Rulers are ruling, but where is the legitimacy and where is your democracy?


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