COVID-related shutdowns fire up organized opposition
LYNDEN — The local resistance to Gov. Inslee’s COVID shutdown orders came to Lynden for a “Santa Rebellion” event Saturday after staging a “Turkey Rebellion” at Ferndale Nov. 21.
Emceed again by Jim Mc-Kinney of Blaine, the one hour of speeches from a flatbed trailer stage ended this time with Christmas carol singing. With a crowd of about 300, it was all in the downtown Seventh Street parking lot just before the Lighted Parade along Front Street at 5 p.m.
In the crosshairs were the COVID-related restrictions affecting businesses, schools, churches and family or social gatherings, and now especially in the holiday season.
“We will celebrate,” declared McKinney, although he also urged everyone to “take care of yourself and be responsible — we do recognize there is a risk out there.” Few in the crowd wore masks.
“We have to continue on with life ... businesses ... families, and we’ve got to protect our individual liberties,” he said, voicing a recurrent theme.
McKinney likened the controls now to those experienced in Berlin, Germany, where he was a military intelligence officer, until Communism fell three decades ago. People spied on each other and turned each other in out of fear, he said.
Benjamin Davenport, pastor of the United Reformed Church of Bellingham, spoke. He said he was troubled that churches were not heeding the “do together” instructions of the Bible versus human dictates. “We will gather to worship this Christmas,” he said in closing.
Business owner Julie Anderson said those who “snitch” on violators of Inslee’s orders should be ashamed, and government is “manipulating fear” to make us conform.”
She said that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of deaths of older people is not higher in 2020 than years before, in spite of COVID. “Do you think we are being lied to?” she said.
Anderson said anyone is more likely to die of going out driving on the road than of the coronavirus.
A big “Resist Tyranny” banner was hung near the stage.
Marc Urban called attention to “Fairway Strong” hats and T-shirts that have been created as a fund-raiser to support Rose DeGroot and her Fairway Cafe of Lynden, objects of a court-backed shutdown order from state Labor & Industries last week. Both items are $25 on a Facebook order page.
Mylissa Bode, mother of school-age children in the Blaine area, said “kids need to be in school” for their academic, safety and emotional well-being. “Our schools are failing these kids,” she said.
Public middle and high schools have returned to in-person after several weeks of being in some form of on-campus classes.
In opposition to teachers who take a “comfortable paycheck” but “abandon” kids to failure, she says, “Get up and go to work,” meaning a live classroom with live students in it.
Bode and Lynden High School student Danaya Snavely said suicide and depression threaten teens more because of the cut-off of normal and needed relationships and activities.
Snavely said, based on numbers from 2018, that teens are more than 15 times as likely to die of suicide than of dying of COVID in 2020.
McKinney urged his audience to stay unified, write and lobby those who are making decisions and insist on civil rights such as the ability to assemble, to worship and to use their voices, including in singing.
“There is no such thing as common-sense tyranny,” proclaimed pastor and Lynden Freedom group organizer Gary Small as the event wrapped up. “We cannot allow the virus to control us. We will be free. Amen?”
Another “resist” event is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, near the Regal Cinemas in Bellingham.
Participants spoke of a wewillwhatcom.com website for shared notifying.