By Patrick Wagner
Buffalo Mazzetti, the founder of Okanogan Highlands Bottling Company, isn’t just interested in selling bottled water. Mazzetti wants his Political Action Water to sell an idea, one that the longtime Eastern Washington activist had been selling long before the company’s inception in 1998. Mazzetti wants his consumers to stand up and be counted as political activists.
“Things get done by the people who show up,” Mazzetti said. “If you don’t show up, you don’t have a say in the matter.”
That’s the goal for his Political Action Water — to get consumers to take a small step forward in the democratic process.
Hoping to curb apathy from even the most frugal of would-be-activists, Mazzetti invites customers to steal his labels straight from his website at purewater.org, thereby giving everybody the ability to refashion their empty water bottles into a political messages.
“It’s to inspire people, have them get people involved,” he said. “They take some kind of action and hopefully by taking small actions they get more engaged. So I kind of consider myself a stepping stone so people will hopefully become activists.”
The design’s simple enough to replicate. It’s a bottle of water labeled to carry political messages to lawmakers. The instructions happen to be equally as simple: drink water, dry bottle and mail it (placing your own message inside the bottle is optional). Okanogan Highlands Bottling Company offers six different causes to support, ranging from immigration law reform to overturning the mining law of 1872 to legalizing cannabis.
Mazzetti came up with the idea after winning a hard-fought battle against the mining law of 1872, only to have former Sen. Slade Gorton nullify his victory the following year.
“It really ticked me off because we had worked for eight years to defeat this mining company,” Mazzetti said. “We did it legally and through the courts. Gorton just changed it with the stroke of a pen.”
From that loss, Mazzetti decided that the best way to get a politician’s attention would be to flood their office with real junk mail. Even after Initiative 502 passed in Washington, Mazzetti’s “Legalize It” label of Political Action Water continues to reach politicians in Olympia.
“I certainly feel that 502 is not the panacea of what the community is looking for,” Mazzetti said. “We all need the ability to grow cannabis. We need to free the people who have been incarcerated or have a criminal record as the result of their activities with cannabis.”
Political Action Water can be found in many stores across the country and Mazzetti sells eight-packs directly from his websites.