Tuesday, April 14, 2020

the 2020 ROK National Assembly election

There's a fairly big election happening in South Korea tomorrow: the 21st legislative election for the South Korean National Assembly, which is the ROK's unicameral version of the US Congress. Our boss has kindly given us the day off, which works fine for me. I don't care much about Korean politics, which can be a messy, chaotic jumble of fusion and fission as alliances and coalitions form, break up, regroup, and re-form. Political parties here are constantly renaming and re-branding themselves; it's a massive shit show. This is what makes me hesitate whenever I feel like complaining about the US's stupid adherence to a two-party dynamic: the fact of the matter is that multi-party legislatures aren't any better when it comes to divided loyalties, double-dealing, and outright corruption. Germany's multi-party system doesn't seem to be much better than South Korea's—this despite the Germans' reputation for fanatical neatness and rigid organization.

One of the virus-related text messages that came from the government today talked about the need to wear a mask and to practice social distancing while standing on line to vote. I have an F-4 visa, which means I can't vote in national elections, but that doesn't bother me at all. Politics in South Korea is just another incarnation of the age-old principle of Same shit, different day. I'm sure that sounds familiar to you even if you're not a resident of South Korea. If I may wax science-fictional for a moment, though: if 2020-era Kevin could go back in time and vote for Kim Young-sam back in the day, knowing what I know now, I'd happily do so.

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