2018년 11월 6일 화요일

Voting papers in their wrinkled, callused hands

 No long diatribe or preaching today. 


Let this old black and white photography eloquently speak for me.  This is from a Kyonghyang sinmun report dated May 24, 1971, showing a Korean rural village members waiting patiently in line to cast their votes for a National Assembly election.

As the result of this election, the military dictator Park Chung Hee's Democratic Republican Party, established in 1963, still held the majority, but despite the disarray suffered by the opposition New Democratic Party it managed to garner 44.4 per-cent of the total votes, as opposed to 48.8 per-cent for the ruling party.  

Did this election end Park's dictatorship?  No.  But the NDP gained more than 11 per-cent of the electoral support compared to 1967.   

Incremental changes.  One step, one vote at a time. 

These cumulative changes eventually produced South Korea of today, a fiercely democratic nation that, despite being in a state of war against a hostile, potentially nuclear-armed military regime, successfully impeached and brought down a corrupt President just last year. 

So never say your vote does not matter. Nor say that, despite your vote, the bad guy still won, so it was for nothing.  Your vote does matter, and it was not for nothing.  Histories of all societies and nations that have ever become functioning democracies will tell you that. 

(Photo source: http://db.kdemocracy.or.kr/isad/view/00733142)