Wednesday, June 11, 2008
stole this pretty pic from the 조선일보
All right, dear protesters:
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It is time to cut it out!
Why? Because you don't know what you're talking about or protesting against.
Is this protest about US beef imports? I won't even bother going over the science. I've already spent too much time explaining that project other places, along with everybody from the FDA and US Ambassador on down. Basically, if this is your reason for protesting, you are ignoring scientific fact, logic, and basic reason. That makes you an idiot. Idiots are free to protest, but I don't think the government or anybody else is obliged to listen to them.
If you're doing it to protect the Korean beef industry, well, that's too bad because the agricultural industry in Korea is not going to survive in its present form, no matter how many protectionist measures people take. Hear that? Korea is no longer an agrarian nation.
In the meantime, if you'd like to keep paying three to eight times as much as you need to for beef, well, importing US beef is not going to stop you from that kind of conspicuous consumption. If anything it will make your luxury consumption of 한우 more conspicuous, because in the meantime, I'll be shopping in the bargain bin for US beef. We can both feel good because you'll be supporting a local industry you believe in, and I will be back to enjoying delicious, nutritious and affordable protein. But don't pretend this is about choice. The only thing protesting US beef is doing is denying people the choice of affordable beef. And that's not noble, it's dumb.
Are you there to protest the "arrogance" of 2MB? The man that was democratically elected in a landslide just a few months ago? I'd like to think that I have a fair idea of democracy. I vote. I've been a protester before against my own government and for causes I believe in - but here's the trick: I protested only when I thought there was a real, SOLID reason to believe a law was being broken or a firm moral principal being ignored. In the meantime, I'm free to write my congressman and elected officials to express my views in the meantime, and change how I vote in the next election. I pick the person who I best think will represent me, and as long as they a) do what they said they were going to do to the best of their ability b) make reasonable compromises then I figure I've done well with my vote.
As far as I can tell, Lee has been exactly the kind of president he said he was going to be. I don't see how anyone can act surprised at what he's done or how he's handled things. There wasn't some big misrepresentation. Lee's a "bulldozer"? Sweetlings, it's not like that nickname was coined for him yesterday. He's corrupt? Only since he could walk. It's not like these were things you didn't know about him before you decided he was your man. He was the pick of a bad lot, but a lot of you picked him. And now he's doing exactly what he said he would, and not so long ago that you shouldn't remember.
Lee hasn't done anything illegal. He hasn't done anything he said he wouldn't do. Heck, he hasn't had time to do much of anything yet, except ratify a deal negotiated by somebody else entirely. If you think he should step down already . . . well, what will you do then? Who is the replacement? Sounds like somebody hasn't thought this one all the way through.
It's not a pro-democracy rally if you're trying to get rid of a democratically elected official who has done nothing illegal. Tyranny of the majority is not democracy. It's just dumb.
As for the "arrogance" of the US, trying to cram this bad deal down the throats of the poor, weak Korean people? The American government and beef industry have, near as I can tell, bent over backward to accommodate the current hissy fit. Whatever happens though, from giving Korea the right to immediately halt imports if a new BSE case emerges to voluntarily agreeing not to import meat from cows slaughtered after 30 months of age (despite virtually no scientific evidence of its danger, but hey! we've already determined that you're not listening to scientific evidence) but whenever something is agreed to, the Korean side keeps moving the goal post. Renegotiation? Why? The Korean government, acting as the elected agents of the Korean people signed a deal that was overall good for most Koreans. Now you want the US to redo everything and give into all your demands because some two-bit piece of yellow-rag journalism made a blatantly false report? Dumb.
Along with your media. Don't give me that line about how I should only read the 한겨레/주앙일보/조선일보/동아일보/OhMyNews! whatever rag that you read as opposed to the 한겨레/중앙일보/조선일보/동아일보/OhMyNews! that you think I'm reading. I spend a good chunk of my day reading from a wide variety of foreign and local papers, in two languages. After I've read an article, I think it over. If I think the writer was wrong or biased or somehow unreliable or I just don't quite understand this issue or it's interesting, I go do some research. Trade deals, comment boards, newspaper articles, scientific articles that have been peer reviewed and published in reputable journals . . . it takes time, but it's worth it to not be fooled into whatever line is being spouted by an irresponsible press. If you believe the stuff you're reading in the local papers now . . .well, you're being dumb. Believing rumors on daum cafe and stuff your 선배 told you at lunch that they read on the internet or whatever strange message shows up by 문자? You guessed it: Dumb.
If you're out protesting some other cause like the proposed Grand Canal, English education reform, or some other cause . . . well, no matter how good your cause, protesting now is dumb. Why? Because it's totally getting lost in the mass of anti-beef, anti-2MB voices being raised in disharmony. Save it for a time and venue where people will listen to you.
Oh and on your way out, would you please stop blocking traffic? In the US, even with right of assembly pretty much any public spot we damn well please, we're NOT allowed to cause havoc, interfere with the police, and make a nuisance of ourself to the entire downtown area. If we do, the police arrest us and nobody has much sympathy. A person's right to protest does not equal the right to make life a pain in the ass for everybody else.
My biggest problem is this: There's no clear goal, no clear argument, and no clear audience. It's just a feel-good party, with people trying to pretend they're on the cutting edge of democracy, part of the drive for a better Korea. That's fine, but stop kidding yourself that this is The Cause. If you missed the great pro-democracy movements of the past, that's too bad. In the meantime, it's just a noisy, pointless, stupid picnic.