Apart from the UC-Berkeley faculty lounge, few places in the US might ordinarily be thought greater hotbeds for liberalism than an independently-run bookstore and coffee shop in Washington State.
But those thinking Seattle‘s far-left politics are indicative of the state’s entire population may be in for a shock.
It is a telltale sign that the proprietors of Katz! Coffee & Used Books, in Lynden, have become the latest soldiers on the front lines against tyrannical mask mandates.
The hamlet lies in the northwestern-most corner of the contiguous United States, so close to the Canadian border that it could be considered part of the Vancouver metropolitan region.
Its family-owned, downtown bookshop has been open since 1947, and overseen by Ken and Sherri Stap since 1987, when they took it over from Ken’s grandfather.
However, trouble began in February, when Washington’s Department of Labor arrived to enforce Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee‘s latest coronavirus orders.
Sooooo… Here we go again! Tomorrow, Saturday will be our final day open for a while. Beginning Monday the 23rd here…
Posted by Katz! Coffee and Used Books on Friday, August 20, 2021
According to a recent Facebook post, the Staps were slapped with a $20,000 fine after being snitched on for refusing to comply with the mask demands.
Now, following months of ongoing harassment, the 74-year-old shop has shuttered, with no indication of when—or if—it may reopen, the Staps told Headline USA via email.
“[W]e are in a position to close our business in order to protest this mask mandate because we are not reliant on the business for our livelihoods, nor are our 2 employees,” said the Staps.
“We are not going to be the mask police—so rather than risk another large fine—we opted to let everyone know where we stood and why,” they continued. “We’ve papered our windows and have made them into a history lesson for the community with pictures of US historical quotes referencing our freedoms along with some humor mixed in.”
Despite the reputation their state has for being radically progressive, the Staps said that Lynden was a mostly like-minded, rural community that did not appreciate the encroachment of leftist values and Inslee’s shameless authoritarianism.
“Washington and Oregon are extreme in their leftist politics—and unfortunately the liberal agenda dominates the larger cities,” wrote the Staps.
“If you would see the states geographically, they are largely red, except for these larger cities,” the couple added. “So what we are doing is definitely our way of making a political statement about untruths as well as the overreach of Inslee and his enforcement minions.”
The Staps said 99% of their loyal customers supported the business’s decision to maintain the unmasked status-quo rather than obey the unfounded, nonscientific diktats of power-hungry bureaucrats.
Nonetheless, Lynden’s high standard of living also has made it a lure for urban refugees—perhaps those fleeing chaotic fiascos like the so-called CHAZ occupation and riots during Seattle’s “summer of love” last year.
“Being a small town in a mostly rural setting with strong morals, and a largely conservative Christian community, Lynden has an exceptionally good quality of life,” said the Staps. “However, there are increasingly more and more ‘not so conservative’ people moving here for this quality of life and unfortunately, they are taking their blue politics with them—and starting to change the quality of life that they moved here for.”
But like nearby California, many of Washington’s conservative residents are now beginning to find a new voice as leftist officials push farther and farther beyond the red line.
While the Evergreen State’s southern neighbors have floated the possibility of secession, Washington’s rural communities have focused their energies on organizing a recall effort similar to that which California Gov. Gavin Newsom is currently facing.
“In regards to Inslee, most people in Lynden do not have much use for him or his liberal policies,” wrote the Staps. “I’m sure there are supporters of him here, but very few if any are willing to admit it.”