It was almost a decade ago that, 2-months into my second pregnancy and terrified by the imminent threat of a potential re-election, I discovered the Committee to Defeat George Bush.  I was living in San Jose at the time, a populace more focused on business than activism, so it was no surprise that this small, highly engaged committee was based in Santa Cruz.

Move To AmendThe ad I found in the Good Times describing this well-organized democratic fundraising effort had a contact name at the bottom, Harvey Dosik.  Determined to engage my like-minded friends toward a more solutions-driven alternative to rampant complaining, I decided to give this Dosik fellow a call.

Before I knew it, Harvey Dosik had rounded up my eager band of activists from over the hill and turned us into the Committee to Defeat George Bush San Jose chapter.  From the get-go, Harvey unwaveringly rallied on as he organized weekend after weekend of book sales, ticket raffles, silent auctions and more to raise tens of thousands of dollars for a cause he believed in.

All of us went balls to the wall during that intense six month period, and after it was all over, many of those balls simply dropped, too crushed by the simpering defeat to keep any further effort going.  Four years later when Harvey contacted me to work on the Obama election committee, I could only peripherally participate. I just couldn’t get my heart into it, the last loss seemed still so recent.

So here we are six years later before I run into Harvey again, this time at the Westside Farmer’s Market, and it was like not a day had passed.  Warm and engaging, he is equally stalwart in his mission, this time to effect change at the source of so many of our country’s issues: our legislator’s pockets.  Money may not be able to buy happiness, but in this country it’s been long known to buy legislation.  Harvey Dosik is now dedicated to changing all of that.

When I met him on Saturday Harvey had just officially retired from his regular job, and is now devoted to this one.  Fortunately he’s far from alone.  He’s joined an organization called Move to Amend, dedicated to overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and amending our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

I was both touched by his passion and amazed at his energy.  He stood gently inviting people to sign a  petition rejecting the notion that corporations are entitled to rights far beyond normal personhood – essentially we’ve given them un-restricted abilities to change legislation in their favor through unlimited campaign contributions.   Ordinary people can’t do that.

This is not a partisan issue, it effects every citizen of the US, regardless of political affiliation.  And as an advocate for healthy eating, the fact that under this amendment the Supreme Court has reversed state laws requiring companies to disclose product origins (International Dairy v. Amnestoy, 1996), thus creating “negative free speech rights” for corporations and preventing us from knowing what’s in our food is foremost among the litany of issues this bill raises.

As I watched most people respond skeptically to Harvey’s requests, I asked him how he stayed motivated in the face of so much apathy.  He explained that working toward positive change is what keeps him going.  “We’re live in such a paradise” he mused, looking around at the colorful market on a beautiful autumn morning.  “Lulled into a sense of false security” I added.  “Not me!” he corrected with a smile.  And duly inspired, ten years later, not me either…

Join me in signing the Move to Amend Petition, and join Move to Amend Santa Cruz to hear national spokesperson David Cobb speak in Santa Cruz and find out more about this important initiative.

When:  Weds., November 20, 7:00 pm

Where:  Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz