Council Corner: Cate Arnold

Creating Plowshares Instead of Swords

I am writing this in the most politically charged time I have experienced. Washington County entered Phase 1 of reopening on June 1, to recover our economy, hopefully without spiking the Coronavirus. While many of us are discussing our cultural biases around systemic racism, violence and inequality, too much media divides us into factions by glorifying or vilifying cultural categories of people.

And we are seeing disturbing disregard for safety measures that protect each other from COVID-19. Sadly, there are too many stories like these:

At my local store, the man ahead of me was talking at the pharmacist who listened quietly. After he’d created a cloud of particles for me to walk into, I asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask. His response? “God will take care of me!” When asked if he would step out of a two-story window expecting God to catch him, he told me that I should try it.

A 21-year-old woman working at the pet store told me a woman without a mask coughed in her face. She is petrified of getting Coronavirus and spreading it to her younger asthmatic sister.

Before the reopening I went into an ice cream store. As I was waiting, another customer entered, walking towards me. I moved away and asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He said, “It’s ok. I’m fine.” I asked the employees how many customers wear masks… just over half.

In 2017, I wrote my own oath of office, which included

As human beings,

We are quicker to be critical than constructive. I will choose to be constructive.

We are quicker to attack persons than problems. I will choose to attack problems.

We are quicker to feel hateful than hopeful. I will choose to feel hopeful.

We are quicker to influence our community with fear and smear than with courage and compassion. I will choose to influence with courage and compassion.

Right now around the globe we need to safeguard and support everyone in the midst of this pandemic, keeping essential resources like food, water, healthcare, electricity, and money flowing. The City Council recently identified as among our top priorities Pandemic Response and Recovery and neighborhood emergency preparedness. If there was ever a time to communicate with our neighbors, it is now!

Will you join me and bring your best wisdom and energy to create solutions for Beaverton? Contact me at carnold@beavertonoregon.gov so I can link you with kindred spirits to create plowshares rather than swords. Let’s lead in the light of life and love!

Cate Arnold