In the run up to the November 2020 election, Clackamas County Commissioner Mark Shull of Sandy left no doubt about his conservative political leanings.
Having won a narrow victory and recently taken office, Shull now reveals himself as Islamaphobic, xenophobic and transphobic.
Thanks to the work of blogger and Clackamas County resident Cris Waller, Shull's public statements appearing on social media have been exposed for all to see.
• "Stop the enemy while the enemy's strength is still relatively weak in comparison to friendly forces," Shull wrote on Nov. 3, 2019. "The most menacing threat to U.S. national security is the incursion of Islam into our society.... It is time for a new D-Day, one that is appropriate for the threat."
• In another post on July 30, 2019, Shull characterized all Muslims as deceitful.
• In an April 2020 post, Shull demeans the transgender community saying, "If a mentally-ill dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him."
There were other posts — too many to print here — and all of them heartbreaking. Shull has proven himself part of the culture of hate and intolerance. What does it take for people to act like grown ups and resist posting vile epithets on social media? When will people embrace inclusion, kindness and acceptance?
Confronted with these statements and asked to explain himself, Shull offered these hollow words:
"I apologize for any concerns in the community related to my comments years ago about problems with integration of Islam into western society. I respect the freedom of religion that extends to members of the Islamic community, as well as to all religious beliefs. I will work towards increasing understanding and cooperation amongst all new immigrants to our nation and to our county. I welcome members of the Islam community and I look forward to working with that community in the future. We are all Americans. We all need to be heard and to have our opinions and beliefs respected. I am here as the County Commissioner to serve everyone regardless of race, creed or religion."
For a growing number of people, Shull's contrition is too little, and much too late. He has revealed his true colors, and in so doing disqualified himself from representing entire segments of his constituency.
While a majority of Shull's colleagues on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners have been silent so far, the neighboring Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has unanimously called for his resignation, as has Milwaukie City Councilor Angel Falconer.
Clackamas County Commissioner Sonya Fischer responded this way: "Hate, marginalization, incitement to violence have no place in our community. Your social media statements are not a mistake you made in poor judgment; they are clear evidence of bigotry. ... We cannot move forward as a country or as a community until people are held accountable for their actions."
We hope the full Clackamas County Board of Commissioners ends its silence soon. And we remain hopeful that it, too, will ask for Shull's immediate resignation. Clearly, every decision made with Shull's involvement will be tarnished, and his continued presence will serve only as an embarrassment and distraction for as long as he holds office.
The full contingent of Pamplin Media Group's Clackamas County editors — representing news organizations from Sandy, Estacada, Clackamas, Canby, Lake Oswego and Wilsonville — echo those calls for Shull's resignation. There is no room for discrimination of any kind among elected leaders.
At a time when our counties, state and nation should be working toward the healing of vast social and political divides, the last thing we need are tone-deaf politicians standing in the way.
Mark Shull, please do the right thing and step down now before your presence creates lasting damage.
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