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Dreamers, or delusional?

The rage of young people must not be overlooked.
Jan 23,2018
“Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” is a song by Kenny Rogers, a pop star from the 1980s, and Kim Carnes as a duet. “Don’t fall in love with a dreamer/‘Cause he’ll always take you in/Just when you think you’ve really changed him/He’ll leave you again/Don’t fall in love with a dreamer/‘Cause he’ll break you every time,” the lyrics say.

The latest controversy surrounding the creation of a joint women’s ice hockey team reminded me of the song, as the government is causing pain to the youngsters who were its strong followers. Over 80 percent of people in their 20s and 30s — the core supporters of the Moon Jae-in administration — are expressing not only opposition to the joint team, but also their serious disappointment and despair.

The government seemed to be shocked. It seemed to be perplexed at the fury of the young supporters following the latest controversy surrounding the government’s flip-flops over the decision to regulate cryptocurrencies.

President Moon hurriedly visited the national team’s training center to cheer up the athletes, but it seemed to have little effect. This administration’s weapon — emotional politics — failed to satisfy the angry young people.

“Justice” is the keyword to define the young people of Korea. They are the generation after democratization and they are different from the older generations who witnessed corruption and irregularity. When they face a hopeless reality, the meaning of justice becomes tremendous.

They are forced to give up their jobs with regular contracts because the reality is too brutal, but if their opportunities are taken in a way they feel is unjust they refuse to accept it. This is why they react extremely sensitively to those born with silver spoons in their mouths and abuse of power. They react sensitively because they feel they are unfairly losing their few opportunities.

Ironically, the Moon administration’s keyword is also justice. Because it was the administration selected by the people who successfully and democratically removed an unjust administration, the keyword seems obvious. But this administration’s version of justice was quickly turned into “I am the justice,” because of its misconception that it was the revolution. The administration thinks everyone who has different thoughts is somehow evil. It has the right to decide the objects of liquidation. That was understandable, at least.

But North Korea is a different issue. For those in their 20s and 30s, the North is nothing more than the kingdom of Kim Jong-un, who is the icon of a person born with a silver spoon in his mouth and who abuses power. For them, the government was abusing its power and robbed South Korean athletes’ precious opportunity to play in the Winter Olympic Games to create a joint team. The dreamer government that has a fantasy about the North thought the people would follow its decision without any protest. Although it was surprised by the rage, it still held onto that belief. That was why some senior officials mistakenly showed their true feelings and made slips of the tongue.

“Because the women’s ice hockey team is not competitive enough to win a medal anyway, creating a joint team is not a problem,” the prime minister said, stabbing the young’s heart with a dagger. They hear the remarks as “It is okay to deprive opportunities from the people who are just working part-time jobs.”

“The match by a joint team will become a memorable moment in history,” the president said. It was nothing more than high-handed arrogance for “I am the justice.” For the athletes whose opportunity to play were robbed by North Koreans — and the people whose job opportunities are deprived — looking at the North Korean players during a match will be the worst memory ever.

The worst of the worst was a ruling party official’s comment that “All at fault is the wrong education of the conservative administrations during the past decade.”

During the past 10 years, the best teacher was North Korea. It torpedoed the Cheonan warship, shelled Yeonpyeong Island and installed land mines along the border. South Korean youngsters were killed and lost legs. And yet, the North was about to deploy nuclear weapons and missiles. When the Winter Olympic Games end, it will resume firing missiles.

If the government and the ruling party learned nothing from the past provocations they are not dreamers. They are delusional.

The rage of young people must not be overlooked. The government can awake from its dream when it loses its arrogance. If the Blue House secretaries underestimate the despair and devastation of today’s young people, they will quickly lose their love.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 22, Page 30

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Lee Hoon-beom