Rest in Peace, Granny D
Yesterday, New Hampshire and the nation lost an amazing woman. Doris "Granny D" Haddock of Dublin, NH died yesterday the age of 100. Proponents of campaign finance reform and feminists alike will mourn the passing of this spunky, politically involved grandmother of 14.
In 2000, Granny D, frustrated with the manner in which most candidates are financed, undertook a cross-country walk to bring attention to the cause of finance reform. Walking (sometimes skiing) 3,200 miles, in all manner of weather, Granny D spread the message that de-riguer corporate backing of political candidates wasn't the American Way, at least not as the framers had intended it.
That trek was documented in an HBO special, Run, Granny, Run which can also be found on Hulu. Later that year, Granny D was arrested while reading the Declaration of Independence in the Capital Rotunda. In her statement to the judge presiding over the case, she explained, (italics mine)
In my 90 years, this is the first time I have been arrested. I risk my good name --for I do indeed care what my neighbors think about me. But, Your Honor, some of us do not have much power, except to put our bodies in the way of an injustice--to picket, to walk, or to just stand in the way. It will not change the world overnight, but it is all we can do...
...Your Honor, it is now your turn to be a part of this arrest. If your concern is that we might have interfered with the visitor's right to a meaningful tour of their Capitol, I tell you that we helped them have a more meaningful one. If your concern is that we might have been blocking the halls of our government, let me assure you that we stood to one side of the Rotunda where we would not be in anyone's way. But I inform you that the halls are indeed blocked over there.
They are blocked by the shameless sale of public policy to campaign contributors, which bars the doors and the halls to the people's legitimate needs and the flow of proper representation. We Americans must put an end to it in any peaceful way that we can. Yes, we can speak when we vote, and we do. But we must also give our best effort to encourage the repair of a very broken system. We must do both.
She authored a book about her travels across our nation as well. Granny D: You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell. Ten years later, her message still rings true. More so than ever. We still deal with the haves versus the have-nots in our government. Money is the driver behind candidates, not ideals.
Granny D was an icon at political gatherings in NH, with a place of honor among other, perhaps more worldly, guests. She ran for senate against Judd Gregg in 2004, at the age of 94 and garnered a hefty portion of the vote in the general election (34%). She spoke her mind. She was true to her beliefs and those held by the founders of our nation. She was a woman to be reckoned with.
There are times when I've wondered what I want to be when I grow up. I think now I know...when I grow up, I want to be Granny D.