Stacy Korsgaden on the fallout from the rally in Washington DC

February 3, 2021

Stacy Korsgaden

OPINION by STACY KORSGADEN

In the early 90s, I shocked my mother by confiding that I had fallen in love with a woman named Jodi. Mom immediately declared that no one would like me or do business with me, and that I was endangering my entire future.

She was just scared, confused, and feeling protective of her daughter, but sadly neither of us had the tools to properly cope with this sudden, massive shift in my predetermined life.

Ultimately, our journey that had been filled with pain, fear, loneliness, confusion and misunderstanding ended with the healing power of love. In the end, the answer was that simple. It usually is.

Today is the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing. One of the last things she said to me was “Please tell Jodi I love her.” Jodi was by her side when she passed, along with one of my brothers and my twin sister. I believe her divine spirit ascended to Heaven to be with Jesus. My mother left the world a better place, living her life with love.

While Mom was right about so many things as my teacher and advisor, she was wrong about my career failing because I happened to be gay. If I shared with people that I was gay, it was after they came to know me for the person I am. Some people cared, most couldn’t have cared less.

After 32 years in the insurance industry, I’ve been recognized as a national “Top 150 Agent” in my company and my agency continues to thrive. That’s because to be successful in the service business, it is never about “self.”

My gratitude and affection for my clients has both financial and emotional rewards. Yes, my work is fulfilling, but it’s the relationships I have built over the decades that are always at the core of my success.

Fast forward to last Friday, when I could not help but hear my mother’s initial warning ringing in my ears years ago as I shared the truth about myself.

Last week, a reporter from The Tribune emailed me twice to inform me he had obtained two pictures showing me in Washington, DC at the Rally for Election Integrity and wanted me to comment on my attendance at the event. (I don’t know how the candid photos were obtained, as I never posted them to any social media.)

Regardless, as a private citizen, I didn’t feel my attendance was “news.” The reporter then called my office to follow up, so I decided to give him the interview. After a margin-thin election loss for San Luis Obispo County supervisor last year, the media apparently continues to consider me a public figure – especially if they see me as a potential future candidate.

What happened shortly after that article was made public was deeply surprising to me. I suppose it shouldn’t have been, given the huge divide in politics today, but the fallout from my private decision to attend the rally was still absolutely unexpected. Some clients that I had served – seen their kids grow up, sponsored their sporting events and supported their causes, held their hand after a traumatic claim and celebrated personal moments – were canceling their policies due to the political optics and assumptions of my intent and beliefs. Relationships forged, in some cases for decades, were just gone. Relationships that mattered to me.

There are similarities for this point of time to the supercharged moment I came out to my mother 30 years ago: we do not have the tools to properly care for each other during these emotional times in our society.

Since my coming out, my growth has come from asking myself hard questions and being open to new ideas. Back then, my feelings were chaotic. I knew with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life but at the time, I did not know how that could happen. I found myself alone a lot. Always a social person, I suddenly didn’t trust many people with my feelings, and discovered that I did not fully love myself. And love is always the key.

Many years ago, I tried to run from the life I was expected to live by almost marrying a wonderful man. Again, the answer was love. I loved him enough not to drag him into a lie, which allowed me to start loving myself with honesty and follow my heart.

What does this have to do with our troubled times? What are the answers for our country? Let me bring it to our own mirrors. I believe all of our lives can be about personal growth and that we are spiritual beings in physical bodies. Right now, people are grappling with trying to make sense of the past, present, and future. It is a deeply personal time for most people.

How can we remain true to who we are and what we believe while being true to the relationships we value, even if we disagree? In this time in history, we are struggling with political issues and have lost sight of what brought us together in our deeply personal relationships. More than anything, we seem to have forgotten that respect is a cornerstone of any true relationship and communication.

Let me be categorically clear: the mob violence at the United States Capitol was unconscionable and I condemn it in the strongest terms.

True growth comes from answering hard questions. Today, I ask open-ended questions for our community to ask each other:

·        As Americans, we have the right to peacefully assemble and voice our concerns to the government. If, during a peaceful, lawful assembly, there is violence and looting by a faction of radical people, do we then indict every attendee’s voice and motives? Should this be true for Jan. 6? Or even the majority of BLM gatherings last summer?

·        If we are government of the People, by the People and for the People, is it not important to make our concerns known? Even if our neighbor feels differently? Even if certain media tells us differently?

·        If we rename certain schools and take down some statues, is that trying to erase history or take away our ability to learn from the past?

·        If we believe there is reason to question our election system while others tell us the system is fine, why is it not  okay to verify the sanctity of the vote?

·        If a “moderate” person attends a rally where a controversial president is questioning election integrity, does that automatically negate what attendees believe to be valid concerns?

·        Are we at a point in our country and in our relationships where we no longer allow or are willing to consider the longevity of relationships and integrity as a point of respectful conversation, reason, or even understanding?

I am blessed beyond measure to live in the United States and on the Central Coast, in one of the most beautiful counties in California. But wherever we live, freedom has never been easy. We are headed down a difficult road and just getting started. We have misunderstandings, disagreements, and deep concerns that are dividing families and neighbors.

We can let the media divide us, we can lie to each other and give hate breath, or we can take the road less traveled in recent memory: we can communicate with each other and as my mom so wisely taught me, choose love.

So freedom-loving good people, come out, come out, whoever you are!


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Adam Trask

I appreciate your story, Ms. Korsgaden, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that you used very poor judgement in attending that rally—and, by the way, you ran for public office and that makes you fair game for the media (sorry, but that’s the way it is today). During your campaign against Mr. Hill, you portrayed yourself as politically “moderate.”


It seems far fetched that a moderate would travel all the way to D.C. and stand shoulder to shoulder with Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys and other white supremacists and right wing extremists for a cause that had been disproven and really only existed in the delusional mind of Donald Trump.


I’m truly sorry you lost business over this, but you’ll just have to work a little bit harder to get those clients back. Good luck.


ShootTheMessenger

I for one are ecstatic that you were NEVER elected and in the future I hope you are NEVER elected to ANY governmental position.


localman

So true. The media is dividing us into those that attempt to undermine election results and those that don’t want unaccountable police forces. If I can’t even participate in an armed insurrection against my neighbors’ votes without being socially ostracized, I don’t know where we are as a country anymore.


George Garrigues

Heh heh. Parody is lost on the internet. But I appreciate it.


mullyman

Our country at this time is converting back to the times of slavery,hating native americans and other races and genders. We are supposed to learn by our mistakes instead we keep making them. Everyone has the right to their views on anything without ridicule as long as it’s not violent. We are supposed to be a free country setting standards for all other peoples but instead we are a bunch of fools. You put young children together of different races and they just want to play together and have fun they don’t care what you look like but as time goes by they are taught to think differently so we end up with a bunch of brainwashed people. They need to keep the young child view all the way thru life and treat people fairly and with respect.


Ben Daho

You didn’t go because you were concerned with election integrity. You were tricked by a corrupt man. Every single person of authority in positions to test, retest etc. verified the election.


The peaceful assembly wasn’t peaceful. People were murdered by republicans. Then they tried to say it was Antifa. McCarthy had to explain to Trump that it was Maga republicans that attacked and killed the “blue” that they drove around pretending to support. The ritual on Jan 6th was ceremonial. There was absolutely no reason for people from all over the nation to be there. Trump said for Pence to commit fraud which he refused to do. The mob then tried to find him and take his life. Think about that. A group of people advanced to the capital of a nation to kill the Vice President and anyone they could find to support a pathological liar.


The permit to assemble did not allow going to the capital. Republicans constantly say they’re not against Mexicans, but “law breakers” and then ignore every single law Trump broke and then broke the law themselves.


Nice try. It was a calculated attempt at overturning the government of America because you didn’t get the election results you wanted.


Taking down statues that glorified treason was necessary.


You’re a good communicator. You should be, you’re in sales. There’s no excuse to travel to D.C. when there was nothing to gain.


Excuses don’t make it right. You deliberately traveled to create havoc.


To throw BLM in there is blatantly transparent. They didn’t attack our government to kill anyone they could, Republicans did.


Damage control is too little too late.


ByteMaker

What a crock of horse manure!


Ben Daho

What part was not 100% correct? It’s sad to see people walk in goose step with their party, no matter what! they had planned on attacking the capital. Trump told them they needed to stop the election and fight like hell or they wouldn’t have a country and she showed up! The election was over. She went to cause trouble. Republicans fell for the lies and killed police officers. They had Gallows and a Noose looking to kill Mike Pence.


ByteMaker

Bravo Stacy!

Well said and to the point. I can’t count how many relationships have dissolved because of this inability to discuss varying ideas.


Joel

Thank you Stacey for sharing your personal life and articulating your philosophy on today’s discourse. Many of us fully agree that it is time to honor the opinions of others and to be willing to calmly, “intellectually debate specifics”. Those last last three words are the key. Unfortunately most who abruptly abandon relationships are sadly absent the ability to do so. Bless you Stacey for

sharing your thoughts.


localman

I don’t think your vote should count. I have no evidence as to why. It’s just my opinion. Debate me.


Vigilant Citizen

A wonderful article. Love is always the key.

I was also at the Capitol on that day and watched, along with the hundreds of thousands of peaceful everyday Americans, as a small group of radical extremists (who evidence shows planned the attack) assault our beloved Capitol.

I was holding my breath and hoping the police would stop the crazed radical group on the attack. I am sickened by the media’s portrayal of everyone there in an attempt to divide us further and paint anyone supporting election integrity and sound policies as haters. Hate has no place in my heart, I denounce the radicals who planned, incited, and enacted the attack, who were few compared to the crowd. I choose Love! Thank you Stacey!


George Garrigues

Why would you break the covid-19 travel restrictions? Just asking.


horse_soldier

Once again The Trib chooses a political hit piece to draw some desperately needed attention to themselves, see how badly they can bloody up someone they disagree with, and remind us all why they are not worth their online subscription price, or the paper they’re printed on .

The pre-election push for unity (did anyone really believe that?) has not come to be.

Let’s just imagine how differently the story would have been had longtime Trib fave Adam Hill made the trip…

Where is the party of tolerance and acceptance when we need them? Why, canceling their longtime business relationship with Stacey, of course…how woke!