I think I am going to ramble a bit this month when it comes to my message. The first thing I want to do is remind you that you cannot make everyone happy. Regardless of whether we are acting as an officer, in an association leadership role, as a spouse, as a parent or even as a member of our community, our job is to do the right thing, not to make people happy. I am not saying to not be cognizant of how our actions affect other people. I am saying not to let how other people feel, or your concern for how other people will perceive you, prevent you from doing the right thing. In our society today, our actions are constantly being questioned and critiqued by others. Often, those doing the critiquing do not have the same information and understanding that you do. I admit that it does hurt when I read or hear negative criticisms of my actions. As long as we can tell ourselves that we studied the options, annualized the impacts and made the best decisions we could, we can hold our heads up high, knowing our heart is in the right place. We can still continue to learn and improve ourselves but be content in knowing that despite what the critics say, you did the right thing and did the best you could.
The next topic I want to talk about is the despair one can feel due to the upheaval we are experiencing this year. There has been so much upheaval in our lives: the virus, riots, anti-police attacks and a national election. This month we were supposed to be having our annual conference at Disneyland, “the happiest place on earth.” Instead, the conference has been canceled and our ability to come together as an organization has been blocked. PORAC represents more than 78,000 members in California, all of whom are suffering though these trials. Unfortunately, due to the virus, many of us are suffering alone. Not only has our conference been canceled, but many of you have had to cancel events in your personal lives. Vacations have been canceled, visits with family and friends have been limited, life events and parties have been postponed, and now, as we approach the holidays, our ability to gather with loved ones is in question. It is normal to feel odd or ill at ease as a result of all these changes. You may be feeling angry or depressed. Maybe even some of you are feeling happy and relieved by the isolation. Things are not normal, and so it is expected that you may not feel normal. If you are struggling, reach out. It is OK to reach out and ask for help. There are numerous resources available to you — your family, friends, clergy, co-workers, peer support team, mental health professionals or anyone else you can trust. It is not a burden to them. We all need to reach out for support when we need it and offer support to others in their time of need.
The last topic I want to address is the election. I am writing this in the middle of October, and this election season is a dumpster fire. This election is going to shape our nation, our state and our communities for the near future. There are important issues at all levels of government. The information we are getting about the election from the candidates, the media and social media is so polarized and skewed. It is important that we put in the extra work to truly study the candidates and issues and elect those who we believe will best move our cities, state and nation forward. Make sure you vote and submit your ballot on time, and that you follow the proper procedures for submitting your ballot. I hope that once this election is over, that there is a clear winner, and that the winner is the American people.