By Alex P. Vidal
“Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.”—John F. Kennedy
THE lousiest and most pathetic politicians, in my opinion, are those allergic to media, or the ones with jitters in one-on-one or “live” interviews.
Either these politicians have an inferiority complex, or they simply lack self-confidence and feel uncomfortable during the Q and A scrimmage.
In some cases, they deliberately avoid the press because they have something to hide—a scandal, an anomaly involving the taxpayers’ money, past family and personal transgressions they don’t intend to hear or remember again, but which may be capriciously dug up in the course of inquisition.
There are politicians who, even after being elected and reelected, or appointed and reappointed into various positions, still aren’t aware or aren’t guided accordingly that holding regular conferences with the press is part and parcel of their being in that office.
This identity crisis has led to some harebrained to disastrously mothball their relationship with the Fourth Estate by hauling off their media critics to court for libel when they couldn’t stand the heat.
When somebody decides to make politics a profession, he must be willing and “get ready to rumble”—meaning, he must accept the kind of life where he will be constantly stung by the bees seeking inquiries over a myriad of social and political issues and controversies.
And he will be habitually subjected to public scrutiny through the mass media.
Politicians made of sterner stuff aren’t media-shy; they’re always on the go and willing to slug it out with the inquisitive press in open fora.
The most trustworthy politicians are intrepid, dyed in the wool, and transparent.
Through their regular interactions and punch-ups with the critical press, they become sharper and wiser; their mental and emotional durability is best tested and waded through.
These are the types of public servants who courageously spend some of their precious moments in office “waltzing with the press” in no-holds-barred donnybrooks with nary an iota of excuses and lamentation.
I immediately remember friends and family members in the Philippines, who, like everyone else on this planet, have spent some cash to buy face masks and other protective gadgets while battling the pandemic these past two years.
I was also reminded of the free swab testing in the United States while Filipinos grapple to shell out from P5,000 to P8,000 cash for the swab and PCR test in the Philippines.
In the United States, there’s no need to spend a single centavo to avail of the quality masks.
The Biden administration has announced the distribution of 400 million free N95 masks to Americans this week.
The latest federal step aimed at reining in the spread of Covid-19 would have also benefited our friends and family remembers if they were in the United States.
The masks, coming from the Strategic National Stockpile, would be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers.
A White House official described the distribution as “the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US history.”
The huge allotment amounts to more than half of the 750 million N95 masks currently stored in the reserve, a figure that tripled over the last year as the administration sought to boost reserves.
The move came as the US grappled with an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)