2020 has proven to be a challenging year, and we are highly likely to find even more challenges ahead.
The Covid pandemic has resulted in a world-wide shutdown and quarantines around the world. The business community is reeling, and in February the United States entered a recession. It remains unclear how the country and our local communities will resolve these crises.
In addition, the death of George Floyd has ignited wide-spread protests, not only in the black community but among young people who feel they don’t have a chance at realizing the American dream. We haven’t seen demonstrations and destruction like this since the Viet Nam war era fifty years ago.
The outcomes of these crises are all hanging in the balance – we do not yet know what will happen or how these crises will resolve. We do know that extraordinary changes are upon us. What shape these changes will take is not yet clear. Our immediate question is what is the role of Rotary in shaping these changes? Specifically, what is the role of our Fullerton Rotary Club?
The core of Rotary revolves around our VALUES. Our motto is ‘Service Above Self.’ When you unpack this, you quickly realize that this is a statement about love. Those who put service to others above their own needs are always people driven by love. This is who we are – people who love and care enough about the world to go out and make it a better place.
Our values are further developed with our Four Way Test? We start with, ‘Is it the truth?’ Truth is the foundation upon which everything worthwhile is built. Unless we build on the truth, whatever we do will quickly dissolve. Why is the Black Lives Matter movement important? Because it is built on the sad truth of racial discrimination and bias. This is a problem we need to resolve. It has been with us too long.
The second part of the Four Way Test is, ‘Is it fair to all concerned?’ Why has the middle class been left out of the great prosperity of the past decade? Why have millenials gotten the short end of the stick? These are great inequities and they are all around us. Are you willing to tolerate these systemic ills or are you willing to work to change them? We Rotarians are people of action. We live the truths we proclaim.
The third tenet, ‘Will it build goodwill and better friendships?’ We recognize that our relationships are the key factor to making our work succeed. Without good will and trust, nothing of significance happens. So in our meetings, in our business relationships, in community, keep a clear focus on our relationships.
Our fourth tenet, ‘Will it be beneficial to all concerned?’ Rotarians look for win-win solutions; we aren’t satisfied with win-lose solutions because the losers will eventually find a way to sabotage the solutions that don’t work for them. Because we are driven by love, we want everyone to succeed.
This doesn’t mean welfare or handouts. When you are on the dole, you lose your self-respect and the respect of others. That kind of solution is not viable over the long haul. Rotarians offer a hand up, not a hand out. We extend our hands around the world to help those who need it. As an organization, Rotary is almost finished with eradicating the crippling disease of polio. We have literally covered the globe with our love. When we eradicate polio, it will be gone forever. We give our time and money today so that future generations – those people we will never meet – will be free from this scourge.
Who are Rotarians? They are men and women just like you – people who love and who have open hearts, people who believe in character and integrity. People who believe in truth and fairness. If this sounds like you, why not come and join us for lunch. We meet every Wednesday either in person or by Zoom if a quarantine is on. When we join with others of like mind, we accomplish great things. Come and be a part of this great work… I look forward to meeting you soon.
In service to others,
President Ken Kaisch