Five lessons for Rotary gleaned from the 2016 election.


The “Five Lessons for Rotary gleaned from the 2016 election” has been removed from the 5550opinions website and can now be found at 



About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Five lessons for Rotary gleaned from the 2016 election.

  1. Dan Romanchik says:

    I’m sorry, but how can you presume to know how American Rotarians voted? You say, “tens of thousands put aside their Rotarian principles and voted for a candidate who did not even nominally, meet our cherished standards.” Did you poll all 340,000 American Rotarians? If not, then how do you know this? As you yourself say, “No data exists.”

    You also go on to make other comments about American Rotarians which are totally unfounded and highly bombastic. In fact, I think this post has failed the Four-Way Test in just about every way.

    One of Rotary’s “cherished values” is that Rotary is not, or should not be, a forum for political debate. It would be a disaster for Rotary to get involved with elections in any way. You would do Rotary a great service by apologizing and deleting this post.

  2. This is one of the worst posts I have ever read on Rotary International. It is a disgrace and does not pass the 4 way test in any shape or form. The writer should consider his position in Rotary and resign immediately.

    John Borst you are NOT a Rotarian and would not last 5 minutes in my club.

    What makes you think that all things American are so important. You are pompous and you degrade every fair minded Rotarian with this post.

    It is all that is bad in the once United States of America more like the Disunited States of America. Shame on you for writing such vitriol and political nonsense.

    Remember Africa has the fastest growing Rotary population and with around 45% being women who are joining. Rotary is changing and fast in the rest of the world.

    Rotary never will grow in the USA with people like you as members.

    You may not like this BUT there are many if not the vast majority of people in the world who care not on the results of your election and all of us have had enough you have voted so what you sow you will reap, good luck.

    Do we not have a moderator on this panel to delete and bar such posts?

    Yours in Rotary

    DGN John Glassford D9700.

  3. Peter Lattey says:

    I may be a “typical” Rotarian. White, professional and over 70, but this post is not appropriate. Yes the American election was very divisive. Rotarians were surely on both sides, but in what numbers, I have no way of knowing. And I don’t want to know. I love Rotarians because we do good stuff no matter what our race, religion or politics. Let’s continue to leave our politics at the door.

  4. Rtns. Dan, John and Peter:
    I fully understand your sentiments. However, I would like to differ from you in a fundamental way. Rtn. Borst has a right to express his opinion and in my opinion, he has laid out his perspective very clearly of what he thinks of what might have happened. Your perspective may differ from Rtn. Borst but it does not mean that he is wrong and you are right. As a longtime Rotarian and a Past District Governor, I can assure you that Rotary is not free of those biases that Rtn. Borst has articulated in his perspective and do not think it would help to hide the facts of discrimination that I have seen and heard about. We really need to address those biases in Rotary for the good of Rotary and future of Rotary. You are right in that, in principle, Rotary should be kept of politics but is that realistic? As a club, district or RI can try to keep politics out of Rotary but you cannot prevent individual Rotarians talk about it and even actively taking part in. In my opinion, it is a disservice to blame another Rotarian (in this case Rtn. Borst) for his perspectives. If I do not like any of your opinions, I cannot say that you are not a good Rotarian and should be kicked out of Rotary, This is a meaningless perspective. There is a lot of truth in what Rtn. Borst says, he is frank and cogent enough, to say it openly and clearly for everyone, to think about and explore if there are areas and ways in which we can make some changes for the good of Rotary as well as the future of Rotary. In my personal opinion, immaterial of what you all think, yes, the United States is not ready for a woman President because of the of biases in-built into the current society, which you may deny, but it is true that they exist in so many different forms. What Rotary Club of USaa did was just outstanding, I commend them, they opened the proposed membership up for comments, as they were supposed to do, and took action/no action based on the principles of Rotary and not based on who the prospective member is. There were certainly individuals who were unhappy but the club followed Rotary principles and a consensus decision was made by the club leadership. I hope that we all emulate the USaa club leadership. If you recall, Rotary did not allow women to join Rotary until 1986 (if my memory is correct!) until the courts intervened. I, for one, do not like to see a similar situation for a woman to become a Rotary International President. Please look around, there is quite a bit of hypocrisy in the country as well as in Rotary, the best for any Rotarian is to accept the reality and try to address it wherever possible for the good of Rotary. I hope that you all take my perspective in the right spirit and in the spirit of Rotary and not come back and say kick this guy this out of Rotary! I want to assure that this is my opinion and have right to express it and this post will not be withdraw for any reason, I also stand by the basic principle that it is the fundamental right of Rtn. Borst to express his opinion.

    • Morning Rampur

      I respectfully disagree and emphasise that politics should never be discussed by fellow Rotarains. If we do we neglect our view that religion, politics and race must never be heard in Rotary circles, it only leads to rancor and a loss of friendships.

      That is what attracted me to Rotary in the first place. I intend to keep it that way.

      There is a place to discuss politics but it is not within Rotary.

      Today even posts such as this get around the world in nano seconds and does us harm as Rotarians. We of course are allowed to express our feelings but only in an acceptable way on the correct forum.

      When I walk into a Rotary meeting no matter where it is in the world I know politics will not be discussed so why discuss it on a Rotary forum?

      Even if I had agreed with john Borst’s ideas I would never share them on a Rotary forum on line or in a Rotary gathering.

      Yours in Rotary

      DGN John Glassford
      22 Moore Street
      GANMAIN N.S.W. 2702

      Governor 2018-2019 D9700

      Coolamon Rotary Club

      CHAIR RAG Endangered Species

      0498 190 880

  5. DonnShay says:

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion. A belief in bettering the world through service unites Rotarians. We may disagree politically, but I think that our ability to disagree peacefully makes us stronger.

  6. noronwe says:

    Did anyone happen to notice the tears flowing from the Rotary logo and spilling out over the words 2016 Election and the American flag?

  7. fosterus46 says:

    I am not an American and the lessons Americans may choose to draw from their recent electoral experience are for them to fathom. The US is a fascinating range of cultures, belief systems and regional economies but given its economic size and the dominance of its media internationally its dynamics are played out, for better, for worse, for all to see. The political shift it has experienced is hardly unique and is also appearing in other ‘western’ nations as they struggle to adapt to or resist emerging global problems. It only takes a glimpse at history to observe that such shifts are hardly a new phenomenon. So are their lessons for Rotarians? Probably yes. Among them may be listen to others, not just your friends, question and test your assumptions – those truths that you take to be ‘self-evident’ and if you observe anger, seek out its causes and develop rational responses. The embarrassed pundits seem to be behaving as if they have just discovered the American ‘rust belt’ and its cycle of poverty, disadvantage and despair. To what extent is this true for Rotary in these communities? Looking globally, how many of our communities are also trapped in such a cycle and what are our clubs doing about it?

    RI Rules expect Clubs and Rotarians to be non-partisan politically but not to be apolitical (to not give a damn) so any major event in politics potentially holds lessons for Rotarians, as Rotarians. Are we ready to learn them?

  8. Leonard N. Katz says:

    I believe that we all have the right of voice our opinions BUT they should be our opinions and not stated in such a manner that they appear to be pronouncements from on-high! I didn’t vote for Hillary because she is a woman but because of what I discern to be her attitude of believing herself above all of us ‘regular’ citizens of the US. I don’t feel that my vote makes me a male chauvinist and if a woman candidate is presented by a party then I will continue to judge that person on her merits and not on her gender.

  9. Dick Robinson says:

    Which candidate, which news media and which party has embrace Rotary or any other pattern of “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”. Look at how few voter belong to Rotary and is there an answer to Five lessons for Rotary or just a pause in the effort to encourage young child and you adults to join interact or Rotact.

  10. Cliff Borofsky says:

    I think Borst’s 5 Lessons pretty much missed the nail on the head. While he made his position clear, he had neither data nor sufficient logic to make his point or to generalize his conclusions to the rest of the membership. He may wish to reflect more closely on his own fears and beliefs before speculating in such grand manner about characterizations of Rotary International. Free choice. He may convince himself that Rotarians are profiled to the right beyond the 4 Way Test and therefore absent himself from the organization. The rest of us have good work to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s