by James Stefanile, ABR, GRI, SRES, QSC, gCertified, REALTOR/Salesperson, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New Jersey Properties, Montclair Office
With the Congressional mid-term elections and governors’ races imminent, there is always a temptation to vote for candidates who we think support what puts money in our pockets.
The Realtor Party, REALTORS’ political arm is good at identifying politicians friendly to real estate and to the issues important to the industry. Quite a few of my acquaintances in the business seem to favor Republican candidates and think of them as more friendly to our profession. My personal opinion is a politician will say anything to a specific constituency to enlist its support, whether they believe it themselves or not.
I respect my colleagues preferences and I understand pocketbook loyalty. I wish I could look at candidates so narrowly but I can’t seem to distance myself from the totality of wrong represented by right-wing ideologies. What the real estate industry responds to is the Republican notion that government should stay out-of-the-way of the market as it finds its equilibrium. Is there anyone who hasn’t seen the disastrous results of market self-regulation? Can any politician spout free market ideologies with a straight face?
But that’s not my main objection to so-called “conservative” thinking. I think it’s a total muddle without an over-arching, consistent set of beliefs. On the one hand Republicans want to keep the government small and out of people’s business, but they vigorously advocate for the government to be in your bedroom, obstetrician’s office and on your wedding altar. You can’t have it both ways. If the government stays out-of-the-way of free markets it also needs to stay out-of-the-way when it comes to who you marry and how you manage your reproductive conscience and your family life. Conservative thinking seems to want to stay out-of-the-way of anyone making money but insert itself into our personal lives. It touts the sanctity of young life – unless it comes from Central America – then it should be thrown back and can go straight to Hell. This isn’t really an ideology. It’s yet another example of people who think they know better telling the rest of us where it’s at. It’s a kind of Fascism (that’s right, I said it) based on fear and a perverted sense of entitlement.
But wait, you say!… Aren’t the Democrats doing the same thing in reverse? Liberal on social issues and Draconian on market regulations? The current governmental market oversight under which the financial industry is chafing is the direct result of irresponsible and illegal actions perpetrated by a market that was supposed to police itself. I don’t believe there is a malicious governmental intent among progressives to interfere with a free market. Everyone knows more trade and more commerce is a good thing. It is, however, the proper role of government to step in when market misbehavior leads to crisis. Republicans want the government to step out-of-the-way again. Is there any rational justification for that? All I hear is an increasingly hostile, strident, reactionary and downright ornery polemic coming from the right with an added opinion that they have all the answers to many, very personal, aspects of our lives (and have the inside track on the thinking of God Himself) .
I wish I didn’t have the urge to simply vote the Democratic line but I feel the Republicans have taken the choice away from me. The more they hew to their party line the more muddled and nasty they appear. I cannot be associated with that kind of thinking on any level.
The United States society envisioned by conservative ideology hasn’t existed for years and our country is tilting even further away from the right. The yearning to return to certain values of yester-year is nothing short of delusional and is antithetical to any sort of social progress.
I wouldn’t even mind so much if most right-wing economic theory hadn’t been proven so disastrously wrong. Reaganomics and its “trickle down” theory has been shown to be untrue and it was the beginning of the great divide between haves and have-nots in our country. And was there ever a bigger mis-handling of the economy than the one resulting from the last Republican administration? The truly bizarre fact is that most Republican economic theory being proposed today is a re-hash of those very principles that were so unsuccessful in the past. The proposals coming from the right, although touted as dynamic solutions are, in my opinion, do-nothing ideas bent on preserving a status quo that doesn’t even exist anymore.
I am no one’s blindly loyal apostle only because I believe they will help me make more money, nor am I blindly left leaning. I need an entirely acceptable package in anyone running for public office. I will listen carefully to any candidate who articulates a reasonable and consistent total ideology, whoever they are. Unfortunately, it currently seems to be a choice between dumb and dumber with polarization rather than consensus as the goal. I sometimes think both left and right are completely stumped in the face of our society’s great issues so whoever is less totally wrong and less completely nasty gets my vote. How about you?