THERE are many lessons that we can learn from what happened to US President Donald Trump.
One. The Americans put a premium on transparency with respect to the health of their public officials. Trump himself disclosed that he had tested positive for the coronavirus through his favorite medium, Twitter and since then, the American public have been kept updated as to his condition, including his having developed Covid-19 symptoms and consequent confinement at the Walter Reed medical center.
This openness leaves very little room for destructive speculation and gossip. At the same time, it gives a clear signal to those who will be involved in the process of installing a successor, should death or permanent incapacity occur, to prepare for a smooth transition and prevent any possibility of even the minutest void in the presidency.
Two. We should respect the science and observe the protocols that medical experts have laid down to minimize the spread of the disease. Trump has been dismissive of the mask and physical distancing, ignoring the advice of his own top health officials. This is not to say that he could never have contracted the virus if he had worn a mask to his rallies and kept the attendance to the barest minimum but as they say, the cost is higher for those who tempt fate.
This is a lesson that should not be lost on us. If even the president of the most powerful country in the world can be vulnerable to the disease notwithstanding the fact that he enjoyed the advantage of regular monitoring of his health by top doctors, how much easier would it be for us to be infected, who could hardly afford to get a once-a-year medical check-up?
Trump is getting the best medical attention that money - and office - can buy. What can we expect to get, given our resources? Even if our doctors are among the best in the world and even if they are the most dedicated and the most charitable, hospitalization still costs a lot of money.
Besides, what happens if many of us get sick at the same time like what happened in July? The hospitals will no longer have rooms to accommodate us and our health professionals will be so overworked, they would probably become ill too.
Three. The Americans are less forgiving. The chatter on Twitter went louder after Trump got sick and the tone was and continues to be harsh, even unchristian. Most comments blame the US president for allegedly mishandling the pandemic, dismissing it as a “hoax,” setting a bad example by refusing to wear a mask and politicizing government response to the crisis, resulting in the death of more than 300,000 Americans.
We also hold grudges and wish our enemies ill but our anger usually subsides when we see our enemy down. Not the Americans, apparently, at least not those who wrote that they wanted to see their president go the way of the more than 300,000 victims. Reading the tweets leaves you drained at the end. Those are angry, hate-filled people.
I hope it will never come to that with us, Filipinos.