Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Korean National Election

One of the most important events of the past year was our 18th election for the presidency of the country. A high percentage of voters turned out to elect our first woman president, but at the same time as we praised these achievements societal conflicts remain to be resolved. 

Deeply rooted feelings divide us, says a columnist of the Catholic Times. Conservatives and progressives continually hurl invectives at each other, the 20 and 30-year-olds are opposed to the generation of the 50 and 60-year-olds, and so it goes, with a great deal of false information and criticism of each others' position being exchanged without any serious discussion of issues, the goal only to win votes.

It is now time to work  together, he says. We are all brothers and sisters of the same country, and the elections are over: time for the victors and losers  to seek the common good.  This is the time to communicate and search for unity. The victors should extend their hands in reconciliation and in dialogue. The victors are to remember that almost half the country did not go along with the victor, and when making the laws to keep "the losers" in mind.

And the losers should accept humbly, difficult though it might be, the wish of the majority of the  people. They should not work to criticize the victors but to accept the fact that they have been chosen to run the county for the next five years. When seeing something wrong, they should bring this to the attention of the government, and become partners in the running of the country.

Although we may not rid ourselves, says the columnist, of a feeling of dislike for the others position, what is necessary now is dialogue between the two positions in order to reach some sort of understanding. And solving these controversial issues often depend, the columnist believes, on how the family communicates. Our current generational divide, for example, might not exist, he says, if there had been better communication in the family.  Fathers should be communicating with the children and wife, creating an atmosphere in the family that is open to dialogue.

Cardinal Chong in his address to Catholic journalists mentioned that fathers should be the first to listen to their children and wives, and be ready to work in resolving family misunderstandings and discontent. Sincerely listening to the family members can solve many problems. When there is a refusal to listen, hurt feelings are created that work against the unity of the family.

This also holds true in the world of politics. When those in power listen to the opposition, there is a better chance for communication and unity.The columnist ends with a quote from  Matthew 5:23-24: "If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."