On February 12 David Cobb came to Traditions Cafe in beautiful downtown Olympia to speak on the current movement to amend the US Constitution. David is an attorney and activist. In 2002 he ran as a Green for Texas State Attorney General and he was the Green Party candidate for president in 2004.
Traditions was packed with ‘Move to Amend’ supporters and local residents coming to learn about this movement. “The system is rigged,” David said, “and I use every tool available to create nonviolent systemic change.” David’s two hour talk was a mini college course in democratic process versus the multinational corporate “rule” over us. “The wealthy elite are stealing our commons,” he said, “economic and ecological crisis is here.”
The “Move to Amend” is a big step to repair the crisis situation we have found ourselves in. This beginning process is the petition drive to gain the grass roots support required to force Congress to address the issue. The prepared amendment has two parts. First, it establishes that rights belong to people and not to corporations. Second, it will limit the money corporations or wealthy individuals donate to political candidates and make all donations be publicly disclosed. Because of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, an amendment is required to establish these measures.
“Amending the US Constitution is about the most difficult act we can do in our democracy.” Recall the failed Equal Rights Amendment for women in the 1970s. Without a very solid grassroots base for this amendment, it has no chance. David Cobb is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met but now it is up to us. A vibrant conversation in every community will be needed to push the amendment all the way through ratification.
All the details of the “Move to Amend” can be studied on their own website, movetoamend.org. Video archives of David’s talks and many other events can be found here under the media tab. To create exposure and begin the conversation, David says, is vital at this point in the process. Across the country there have been 299 local resolutions and one state resolution to support the amendment. Now is the time for the state of Washington; for us to consider which way we want our future to go.
“The founding fathers of this country were well aware of the danger of corporate rule and they put strict limits on what corporations could do,” David said. The Supreme Court has withdrawn those important limitations in the Citizens United ruling. If we care about the meaning of self-governance and democracy by the people, this is assuredly the time to act. There is a small but enthusiastic group of individuals struggling to gain the needed signatures on a petition around Olympia. But what is needed most is for people to educate themselves on this topic and talk to each other about what kind of world we want to live in.
“The CEOs, who are so addicted to power, have nothing to fear from us,” David said, “accept that we need to withdraw the unhealthy power they are addicted to. The popular democratic movement was really building itself until September 11th whence the US people withdrew into themselves. Now we can look to the global south to be reminded of how vital grass roots democracy is to people”
David Cobb has maintained a vocal and dynamic forward march in support of ideals that people around Olympia sometimes take for granted. Economic justice and ecological preservation are not winning because people are always distracted. As the crisis roles over into catastrophe we will be required to do mournful clean up or we can take democratic action now.