March 13, 2017 12:52
Park Geun-hye left Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday evening and returned to her old home in Samseong-dong in southern Seoul, the country's first democratically elected president to be ousted before she could complete her single term. The move came a full two days after the Constitutional Court on Friday stripped her of office, apparently because it had not occurred to her to start much-needed refurbishment in her house before the court ruled.
In a message read by a spokesman, Park said she was sorry for failing to complete her term and lodged a bid for sympathy with a martyred pledge to "bear everything." But she showed no sign of remorse or acceptance and darkly promised that "the truth will be revealed."
The country suffered a major upheaval over the last six months and sharp divisions have opened up between a minority of Park fans and the majority who wanted her gone. Many were bitterly disappointed that cronyism, corporate entanglement and blind servility remain rife in high office, and public opinion polls show that more than 90 percent of Koreans yearn for national unity. They do not want this farce to drag on any longer.
Park must accept the court's ruling. Even if she feels she was somehow treated unfairly, she must accept that the decision was based strictly on the rule of law. When she was president, Park was sworn to uphold the Constitution. She owes it to the country to show some respect for it at long last. Her behavior at this point will be etched in the public's memory of her.
Many people who are proud of the economic miracle Korea achieved from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War are cringing in shame. They voted for Park because for them she represented a proud tradition, democratic or not, of titanic achievement in the face of the odds. If Park feels any remorse for letting these people down, she must say that she accepts the court’s ruling and ask her supporters to rally behind the country, not behind one woman and her tetchy pride. Such a statement could go some way to offering solace to those who have lost hope in their country and calm the bitterness that still prevails.
When Richard Nixon resigned the U.S. presidency following the Watergate scandal in 1974, he said that stepping down from office "is abhorrent to every instinct in my body," but added, "as president, I must put the interests of America first." Korea yearns for such words from its own failed leader.
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