BACOLOD

Sanchez: The American connection

Nature Speaks

WHO is the Filipino with no American connection?

Even the most vocal anti-American student activist in my UP college days turned out to be a Filipino expat living the American dream in the United States of America.

I am blessed to be able to also study in Columbia University, on a scholarship to an Ivy league school. I owe it to that country for that study break.

I have other American connections. My other brother lives in Maryland with his family. In keeping with the Filipino custom of hospitality to a kababayan, I was welcome to stay there for several days.

Then there’s my niece working in Arizona. She’s supposed to go home this May, but with the lockdowns I doubt it if she could.

Then there’s Ron Rathbun, my bilas, brother-in-law. I stayed at their home in another state. He also paid for my plane fare from New York to their Michigan home.

These myriad connections were my social connections. I can count on a fall back if I’m there. They form a network associated with trust, trustworthiness, civic norms, membership, and voluntary activities.

Ron is also an avid reader of my column. I also join him in his pastoral work for the Bacolod poor as a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic lay organization.

When he visits me, I get to exchange ideas for my column even if we have many disagreements on American politics. I appreciate his encouragement for me to write again just to exercise my brain. Fight fire with fire.

But he admits he gets tired of reading of Covid-19. Believe me, Ron, I do too. If I have my way, I love to tackle issues on climate change, pollution, forest degradation, my usual menu of topics for a change. For Ron, American politics would be welcome.

Of course, SunStar Bacolod is a community newspaper. It will not be competing with national news outlets, let alone global news outlets. Who cares with the results of the US primaries?

But with Covid-19, it’s a shoo-in. Every, Tom, Dick, Harry, and Jane with access to the internet would be interested.

But I have to touch on Covid-19, when his favorite news outlet Fox News declared on TV and social media: “We have a responsibility” Fox News hosts declare coronavirus a crisis in abrupt U-turn. The hosts encourage viewers to practice social distancing after weeks of downplaying the pandemic as an attack on Trump.

Last I checked Fox News, President Trump was promoting Covid-19 denialism. He minimized the threat for weeks, which also got in the way of mobilizing the nation to meet it. He shows no remorse for this nor for his denial/minimizing/fantasizing about a magic cure and refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the threat.

So issues are no longer politics nor ideological, but health as it should be. Nor even geographical limited to Italy nor Spain, but the USA, with the highest number of Covid-19 victims and sufferers. Now we have a lot in common to agree on.


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