Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Refreshing Sense of Shame

In South Korea, presidents have a real sense of moral responsibility for their actions. Today, ex-president Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide by jumping off a cliff because of his shame at being accused of accepting bribes. The amount is paltry compared to the amount of money shifted to no-bid contractors and private militias during the Bush Administration's actions in the Katrina Debacle as well as the Iraq War. Imagine our own leaders being this ashamed of themselves!

Imagine these words coming from a president who lied and committed honorable troops to a war that made this country less safe, wasted our resources and obfuscated ties between terrorists and a country he personally disliked and wanted their oil:

"'I can’t look you in the face because of shame,' Mr. Roh told reporters before he presented himself for questioning by prosecutors in Seoul, who had accused him of taking $6 million in bribes from a businessman while in office. 'I apologize for disappointing the people.'

"In his last posting on his Web site, on April 22, he wrote, 'You should now discard me.'

"He added: 'I no longer symbolize the values you pursue. I am no longer qualified to speak for such things as democracy, progressiveness and justice,'” [NyTimes, 5.23.09]. Wow.

Imagine a member of the Bush Administration owning up to their immoral conduct! Imagine accepting moral responsibility and being ashamed. It'd be a cold day in hell when that happens.

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