We are likely to have another gloomy spring this year, as in the so-called "IMF era" a few years ago. The country's economy is again declining, and the unemployed rate is dramatically on the rise. Worse than all, our society is seriously divided, and public discontent at the government is rapidly spreading. Likewise, we are suffering from severe antagonism and extreme selfishness. Various social sectors are dissented, calling each other names. They are adamantly adhering to what they believe in, ignoring any reasonable ideas proposed by opposite camps.
Those who have been enjoying certain privileges in the past have still remained deaf to the voice of reform. Some liberal civic groups seem to be more thirsty for striking back their old enemies than taking care of numerous people living under deplorable conditions. Student activists are more interested in social and political issues than academic ones. Politicians, greedy in power, are engaging only in the mud-slinging power struggle. The blind power games among radicals reveal that they have done no more than pay lip service to their own ideology. However, people are getting impatient with the hypocrisy and double standards they daily encounter. We are sick and tired of the propaganda that political and social leaders say in the name of the greater public good.
Many observers fear that current bitter disputes between almost all social components over political, economical, and social issues could escalate. Nevertheless, the government and its die-hard supporters (and only they) seem to be optimistic. It is as if they are illusioned with their huge but momentary success on the economic recovery a couple of years. The blame naturally goes to the government, who is most responsible for today's near-chaotic situations. Those who run the government must realize that there is a general sense of disillusionment with their government.
However, it is a Catch 22 situation here. Many people do not want to support this government until it is successful, but without the support, how can it be successful? In order to remain not as a failed one, the government must produce a vision which can help to give cohesion and roots to our increasingly fragmented and disjointed society. The government can only gain power by recovering the confidence of the public. It is the government's responsibility to reconcile differences and produce a national compromise. Then, the government should stop trying to bring about a dramatic change in the old balance of power. Rather, it should play an honest broker in the row between various groups of interests and prove itself as a respectable and balanced one. It is because this country should not be a battlefield, as Matthew Arnold puts it, "Where ignorant armies clash by night."
In his Essay on Man, Alexander Pope declares that "Hope springs eternal in the human breast." We need not be pessimistic about our future whatever current situation is, and we ought to retain a restless, youthful spirit in search of new horizons. Let all of us be frank, and open our arms to each other with open hearts.
Park Yoon-hee email@example.com
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