This week, South Korea finally impeached President Park Geun-hye. Regardless of the need for such a radical act, it will cause lasting pain for a generation of Koreans. At the center of the controversy is a multi-generational dependence on spiritual advisers who were given more power and influence over state affairs than should have been allowed. In the wake of this scandal, here are 6 lessons we all can take away to make something good come from the pain of something very bad.
First, two political lessons:
1. Don’t vote for a candidate who is misguided, regardless of charisma or pedigree.
There was plenty of evidence. She was the daughter of a dictator, for starters. But the heart of the scandal that brought Park down came from a multi-generational relationship with father and daughter Choi. The elder Choi Tae-min was the founder and leader of a Christian-Buddish hybrid cult, and had proclaimed himself the new Budda. He began his influence (manipulation) of Park when she was a child, claiming her assassinated mother had appeared to him in a dream and asked him to care for her daughter. This was information the Korean people had when Park was elected.
2. Don’t vote for a name.
The Park name was well known in Korea, Park Geun-hye’s father Park Chung-hee took over the country by a military coup d'état in 1962, and remained a dictator, president in name only, until his assignation in 1979. While the elder Park did bring tremendous economic prosperity to South Korea, his style and form of governance was completely at odds with a genuine democracy. And as scandal after scandal surrounding his daughter unfolded, each new layer revealed a mindset that better reflected the dictatorship of her father than the democracy she had sworn to uphold. In the US, we may have finally learned this lesson. While both are remembered very fondly, the policies of our second Roosevelt were not the same as the policies of our first. And the presidency of Bush the younger was far more significant than that of Bush the elder, for better or worse.
Next, two personal lessons:
3. Use the Red Velvet Rope.
I took the name of this lesson directly from Michael Port’s book Book Yourself Solid. Port’s Red Velvet Rope Policy is paramount. Don’t surround yourself with people who can cause you harm, wear you out, or keep you down. Keep them behind the rope. While the influence over Park was clearly at the level of brainwashing, you too can easily allow yourself to be influenced by people who will put their own interests above yours. And while the consequences can sometimes be innocuous, they can sometimes be deadly.
DeeDee’s brother brought her to church every Sunday, and she loved to sing and pray and be around normal people, away from the care facility where she had lived her entire adult life. One day while I was talking with DeeDee her brother joined the conversation. Somehow talk turned to education, and DeeDee’s brother proudly announced that DeeDee, who was severely mentally impaired had graduated high school as the Valedictorian of her class. He talked of how proud he had been of his older sister that day, and how frightened he was when he woke up the next day to hear that she had been in an accident. She had gone out celebrating with her friends and made the choice to get into a car with a drunk driver. The influence of peer pressure killed two of DeeDee’s friends that night, and left DeeDee with a severe head injury that caused her to be institutionalized for the rest of her life. Her little brother who idolized her as a kid, cared for her as an adult until his last day. Because of one stupid decision influenced by peers, two young lives were cut short, and a brilliant mind was stopped short. Be very, very careful who and what you allow behind your red velvet rope.
4. Trust, but Verify.
This lesson comes from another president, Ronald Reagan. Unlike Reagan, and even her own dictator father who both resisted the influence of communism, Park trusted her spiritual advisors to serve her best interests. And when she did, she also trusted them to serve the best interests of her country. But as the scandal broke open, the evidence of bribery and corruption flowing from the elder and younger Choi piled up. Either Park knew about the corruption or she worked very, very hard not to. How often do you look behind the curtain surrounding the people you allow you influence you? How often to you compare CNN to Fox News? We live in an age that makes verification easier than ever, and ignorance of what is influencing you inexcusable.
Finally, two professional lessons:
5. Keep ‘Em Separated
In the US, our founding fathers set up a great barrier between governance and faith, the first amendment of the constitution. This amendment has been used to justify all sorts of back-door judicial manipulation of law and policy. You would think, for all the controversy, that this first amendment would be some grand tome against organized religion and its involvement in governance. Americans have been brainwashed to think of the separation of church and state and an encompassing edict. And if you’re guilty of that, see lesson 4. Here’s what the first amendment actually says, in its entirety:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This sort of amendment wouldn’t have kept a president from listening to spiritual advisors. But it wouldn’t have abolished prayer in public schools, or the display of the Ten Commandments in public and judicial settings either. Or so one would think.
America has a lot more in common with this misguided South Korean leader that most people would believe. We’ve set up scandalous anti-religious policies in direct opposition to the actual constitutional amendment that virtually all of them reference as justification for their existence. And almost no one cares. The separation of church and state is good and valuable. The militant, emotionally charged enforcement or abolition of beliefs is dangerous.
While South Korea struggles to regain order in the wake of this scandal, don’t allow the religious implications to go farther than they should. Our first amendment calls for no laws for OR against the free exercise of religious beliefs. And that’s enough.
6. Transparent Leadership is Unimpeachable
The most important lesson for the entire world is this: Never do anything in private that you wouldn’t do in public. As our world becomes ever more interconnected, and less private, the importance of transparent integrity becomes even greater.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
She was once the 11th most powerful woman in the world. But in the weeks before her impeachment, President Park Geun-hye's approval rating was less than 3%.
Want to ensure that you’re surrounded by positive influence and living in transparent integrity while you grow your influence and wealth? Stick with us!
The 9th Day - 7 Ways