The West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community is dedicated to addressing racism and discrimination in our midst so we can build a community of collaboration and belonging. Our homes in West Linn are part of Clackamas County, and we look to our County Commissioners to share in our bedrock collaborative values and show leadership by example. In September 2021, Commissioner Mark Shull commented on a post on his personal Facebook page that compared the plight of European Jews under Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws to the situation of Oregonians today living under a statewide public-masking mandate to thwart the spread of COVID-19. The analogy is flat-out wrong.
The current mask mandate has been put in place to protect public health by curtailing the spread of an airborne infectious disease that is overwhelming our hospitals and health workers and has resulted in the death of nearly 3,600 Oregonians. Nuremberg Laws were a vise for constricting Jewish life and culture, a prelude to the Final Solution of carefully plotted death to over 6,000,000 Jewish people during World War II. Jewish people are not an infectious disease that needs to be eradicated; COVID-19 is.
Apart from anyone’s personal convictions regarding issues surrounding the COVID pandemic, comparing mask mandates and Nuremberg Laws is a callous and distorted misuse of historical fact. To say there is a “parallel” is dismissive of the suffering of Holocaust victims and of the trauma that survivors and their families continue to endure.
We appreciate the statement of the four other County Commissioners condemning the Facebook post as well as its eventual removal by Commissioner Shull after public outcry. We affirm that “there no place for hatred and bigotry on the Board of County Commissioners or in the county” nor in West Linn.Words and actions matter as we strive to make West Linn a more welcoming and inclusive community.