In this time of division, it’s nice to see a leader manage to unite her nation. Unfortunately in the case of South Korea, she’s united them against her.
President Park Geun-hye has seen her approval ratings plummet to a ludicrously low 4 percent. By comparison, when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, he still had 24 percent of Americans saying, “Keep up the good work, Tricky Dick.”
It’s particularly astounding because if anyone should understand the job, it’s Park. She literally came of age in the presidency; she was only 11 when her father, Park Chung-hee, took power. And after her mother was killed during an assassination attempt on him in 1974, she took over as First Lady at just 22. (Dad was successfully assassinated five years later.)
To recap: President has illegal relationship with apparent cult leader but will not be punished anytime soon. The utterly unsurprising result? The general population has gone crazy. One man was even arrested for seemingly intending to crush Choi with a construction vehicle.
Her father’s political legacy is complicated by the fact that, while he is generally respected for the nation’s economic growth during his time in office, he didn’t get elected so much as seize power, leading TIME to dub her “The Dictator’s Daughter.” Yet at age 60, she managed to win the presidency on her own in 2012.
Soon after everything became a dumpster fire.
What happened? The short version: The nation learned Park was sharing classified information with her friend, Choi Soon-sil. This wasn’t just any pal: Choi is the leader of the Eternal Life Church. If you read the name and thought, “That organization sounds like a cult, ” you are probably right. David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California, has compared Choi to Rasputin and said it’s possible that “Park Geun-hye is just a puppet.”
Oh, and the South Korean President cannot face criminal charges while in office, meaning in theory Park can stick things out until 2018. She’s already ineligible to seek another term.
To recap: President has illegal relationship with apparent cult leader but will not be punished anytime soon.
The utterly unsurprising result? The general population has gone crazy. One man was even arrested for seemingly intending to crush Choi with a construction vehicle.
Now let’s add Viagra to the party.
Park’s office has confirmed they had been acquiring hundreds of erectile dysfunction pills. They insist, however, that these pills were just for staffers taking trips to Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, which have capitals located well above sea level. While South Korean doctors have been known to prescribe such drugs for altitude sickness, the trips occurred months ago and apparently none of the pills were used then.
Park recently claimed she is willing to resign, but opposition politicians have dismissed it as a ploy to divide her opponents and survive, and they plan to go through with an impeachment vote this Friday.
Which just means there is a chance her approval rating will somehow drop even lower. Imagine if South Korea discovers what the Viagra was used for or learns that the staff was also stockpiling ecstasy so they’d better fit in during that diplomatic mission to Amsterdam.
We’ll see if Park can hit absolute zero.
Until then, Congress can feel a little better about their 20 percent approval rating. Though they might want to hit the gym upon seeing this footage of the Korean legislature engaging in some hands-on lawmaking.
Translation: They get in an outright brawl.