This article was published in The Oregonian as a letter to the editor. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has struck Oregon in full force, and our political leadership seems incapable of giving us information in a calm and reassuring way. We hear few words of explanation, encouragement and hope. There is very little transparency in how decisions are being made. The government’s tone reeks of fear, arbitrariness and uncertainty.

Oregonians are wise and thoughtful, caring about themselves and their fellow Oregonians. They must be trusted to make the right decisions about how they will protect themselves and their fellow citizens during this precarious time. Strict one-size-fits-all edicts about social interactions are counterproductive and invite defiance rather than cooperation. Harsh punishments for disobeying arbitrary, non-scientific government orders are inappropriate in all cases. We elect fellow citizens to lead us, to stand side-by-side with us, to give us authority and accountability in decision-making in our own lives and in our interactions with our fellow citizens. We need government officials to give us good information, adequate support, reassurance, positive encouragement, the freedom to act and gentle correction when necessary, as we navigate this difficult time in Oregon’s history. The people of Oregon must be trusted and relied upon to make the right decisions to do the right thing by our fellow citizens.

William “Bud” Pierce