At age 89, Doris Haddock walked across America, ten miles a day, for 3,200 miles to deliver a petition to Congress supporting campaign finance reform. Reportedly, Granny D was done with politicians who patronized her and her fellow voters at local campaign events, then voted for the monied interests. Prior to setting out, Granny D had organized petitions for campaign finance reform, collecting tens of thousands of signatures. Nothing came of it.
The walk took a year, following the byways and seeing the small towns. Arriving in Washington DC in February 2000, Granny D was firm in her message. Again, nothing happened in Washington. Indeed, the next general election was the most costly in history. But surely the people Granny D encountered on her march must have been touched in meaningful ways.
Undeterred, at age 93, Granny D hit the road again, this time in a brightly colored bus exhorting people to Wake Up and Vote! She covered 22,000 miles. At age 94, Granny D ran for election to the House of Representatives on small donations only. She was not elected, but she lived her fervor for campaign finance reform.
The Citizen United Supreme Court decision was issued last January, just before Granny D’s 100th birthday. Word is her birthday gift to us voters was a letter to the Court, explaining the error of the opinion’s ways. Granny D died in March. The adventurer in her heart was young, her passion for the rule of the people, not big money, undimmed.
And heed this: Pete Seeger, age 91, another adventurer whose heart is still young, who spends at least one day a week, no matter the weather, standing on a highway near Beacon, New York, holding a sign that reads, “Peace.”
It is all part of the fabric of change for fairness and the American way. Be young regardless of your age. Do something that means something to you. [Vote on June 8, and vote YES! on Prop 15 and campaign finance reform…elections money can’t buy.] LLII.
With thanks to the Economist and its wonderful obit writers, for bringing Granny D to the attention of its readers.
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