From the Chair: The World Is Watching
By Janene Johnson, 2020 Chair of the Colorado Association of REALTORS®
In these last few months, emotions have been all over the spectrum. Ranging from the highs of watching people around the world doing extraordinary things in the face of this pandemic to the lows of seeing loved ones suffering illness and possible loss; we’re experiencing it all. Add to that the anxiety that we feel not knowing if it will affect us or when this will end. There is a lot of tension in the world. We’re also all experiencing this for the very first time and that common ground does help ease some of the anxiety, at least for me. We are truly in this together yet I’m amazed at the range of reactions that I’m seeing among our colleagues in real estate.
During last month’s CAR Board of Directors meeting, I quoted Austrian neurologist and Holocaust Survivor Viktor Frankl: “The one thing that you cannot take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
I agree that our attitude of how we react in the face of COVID-19 is our choice. But it is not our right to disregard the laws and orders that are put in place by local, state, and federal entities. You can choose to believe or not believe that there is a real threat to our health and even our lives, but regardless, the laws must be followed.
Clearly, the immediate issue with not following the Safer at Home order from Gov. Polis is that you could find yourself with a large fine and possibly even jail time. I know that the local police officers where I live have said they have no choice but to arrest anyone that is not obeying the order.
But there is a bigger and more detrimental impact in not following these orders. As REALTORS®, we are held to a higher standard. Our work and our public persona by following the Code of Ethics sets us apart and, quite frankly, sets us above others in the industry. We work hard to protect the consumer and to protect our industry. In disregarding state order, we are making the statement that we do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Whether we like it or not, we are very visible out there in the world. Like the title says, the world truly is watching. This is the perfect time to put all of the provisions of the Code of Ethics into practice. We can and should protect the consumer, our fellow REALTORS®, and yes, dare I say, even licensees.
It’s extremely hard to make our “good work” apparent to members of the public; we’ve been working on that for many years. But unfortunately, it’s extremely easy for the public to see when we are not acting as we should, when we disregard public policy especially at this time of high unemployment, extreme frustration, fear, and even desperation as we wait to see how this is all going to play out.
Also, please keep in mind that as an association, we want so badly to put money back into the communities that we serve. This year, the CAR Foundation is going to triple the amount that is typically given out for housing needs around the state. This is the time to do it. But all of that goodwill created from donating to those in need will be for naught if we continue to put ourselves above the law. Please make sure to not only be well-versed in what the State of Colorado’s Safer At Home order says, but also make sure to be in touch with your local governments regarding their restrictions as they could be very different and more restrictive than the state’s order. Use your good judgement in how to navigate our current reality and keep the wellbeing of the public, your colleagues, and your own at the forefront of your mind.
Thank you for all you do, and please be safe out there. We’ll get through this and we’ll be stronger than ever, but we all have to do our part.