Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Granny D, January 24, 1910 - March 9, 2010

Oh my goodness – no, make that Granny D's goodness. Her goodness, her heroism and determination are on my mind at this moment. As I was trying, with limited success, to do my first posting with an actual PICTURE, a pleasant radio voice informed me that Doris Haddock passed away yesterday at her home in New Hampshire, at the age of 100.
The picture you see here (from Mr. Rick Hubbard's website, not that I'm endorsing him – he appears to be running for office in Vermont, far, far away from my home here in Independence, MO – I certainly don't want to be using an image w/o tipping a hat in the direction of its provenance.) was taken in the course of Doris Haddock's 3,200 mile-long walk across the U.S., begun in Pasadena, CA, on January 1, 1999. Why would an old lady do such a thing? She printed out her mission on the large yellow flag that fluttered over her head along the way: NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM.
Granny D (Doris's road name) was determined to do a great thing for the American ideal of self-governance, because, she said, "it is our dream and our history." She was protesting the selling of our government, our precious, revolutionary government, argued over and crafted in the miraculous summer of 1787 in Independence Hall, bled for in countless battlefields, to big corporations and billionaires, determined to influence our elected representatives, desperate for money to pay for our increasingly expensive elections. To large and larger crowds along the way, drawn, in part, by her radio interviews on NPR, Granny D gave passionate speeches, some of the most glorious examples of civic rhetoric I've ever come across. You can find text and some stirring video on You can read even more, and I hope you will, in the fine book she wrote with her friend Dennis M. Burke, Walking Across America in my 90th Year. They followed it up with another, entitled with words to live by: You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell.
Here, from my book Rabble Rousers, is how I described the conclusion of Granny D's trek: "Along the way, high school bands played for her, mayors gave her keys to their cities, and people cheered, "Go, Granny, Go!" On February 9, 2,000, than 2,000 people joined her in the last mile to the U.S. Capitol. On the marble steps ninety-year-old Doris Haddock said, 'Here we are senators, at your doorstep: We the people... How did you dare think that we would not come here to these steps to denounce your corruptions in the name of all who have given there lives to our country's defense and improvement."
Bless you forever, citizen Granny D. Long live the republic for which you walked.

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