There is a small band of people who walk long distances for peace or justice. Doris Haddock was one of that band and Granny D is her story. Nov. 8, 2007 Matthew Gregory, the Washington state man who's spent more than a year walking across the nation to benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, expects to conclude his odyssey today at the southernmost city in the United States Key West. Today, Arasteh and the Porter twins, all Berkeley residents, are gearing up for an eight-month cross-country walk, called Peace-by-Peace, which will begin Jan. 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, and end on Sept. 11, 2002 at Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. Granny D has an Appendix with selected speeches of Doris Haddock. If you want to read how the issue of national campaign finance reform is presented in formal statements from Granny D, you can read these 23 pages at the back of the book and experience her educating and inspiring statements directly. The preceding 261 pages have a different flavor: the calls to action are brief and surrounded with the life of a woman walking for a cause. Sometimes you have to take the next step as Granny D did: I was arrested the next morning for reading the Declaration of Independence in a calm voice in the Rotunda. Here is just one example: I walked with my nine-year-old daughter behind Granny D from Arlington to the steps of the Capitol. While I am a longtime campaign finance reform advocate, the personal value of this march was not standing on the steps of the Capitol roaring with approval as Doris issued her challenge to Congress. If Doris Haddock can take that long grueling trek across this country at the age of 90 to fight the scandal of special interest money in our political system, each one of us must take our own steps to combat injustice. The US Supreme Court has struck down a major portion of a 2002 campaign-finance reform law, saying it violates the free-speech right of corporations to engage in public debate of political issues. Government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speakers corporate identity, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 57-page majority opinion.
In addition, she dedicated her effort to those closest to her that had recently passed, her loyal husband Jim and her best friend Elizabeth who she had both provided for during their extended illnesses. Case in point was her speech to Senator Mitch McConnell in 1999 answering the question he posed to Senator John McCain as to who is corrupt asking him to provide names which he refused to do. The speech in its entirety can be found in the Appendix with all the others but the most revealing section is quoted here: "In 1997, Senator McConnell, when you took $791,945 from insurance interests who needed protection from patient rights efforts, and $602, 885 from oil and gas interests who needed a free flow of tax benefits and protections against pollution laws, and $597, 915 from communications interests who wanted free access to to the digital spectrum and a free hand to merge into giant monopolies. "Self-interest Shall be Cast into Oblivion" titles Doris's speeches to Maryland Colleges delivered in February 2000 that I found most interesting: "You may think I began at the beginning when I listed Tom Jefferson, but Tom and I are latecomers to this land of democracy. In all of your deliberations in Council, and in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast to oblivion." I thoroughly enjoyed Doris's observations along her way and her personal reminiscences but the latter were not revealed until the latter half of the book making the beginning chapters slow moving. The Prima-Maricopas created by hand labor, a network of canals-hundreds of miles in extent-that turned the deserts of Central Arizona into a great agricultural empire more than two thousand years ago. Doris's ceremony turned out not be a private affair due to the indiscretion of the minister and she paid the price as she was asked to leave Emerson at the conclusion of her junior year!
Granny's cause was election reform, but I feel the walk did as much for her as a person as it did for her reader's.
It seems kind of cheesy to describe a book as inspirational - but it is impossible to read this book and not feel that inspirational is the word that best fits Doris Haddock's story. I did wish the book would have included a more detailed epilogue - as Granny D went on to run for the US Senate when she was 94, and continued to raise hell until she passed away at age 100.
To fight for campaign finance reform. This book is also full of folksy wisdom and stories from a 90 year old. And all our memories, like days cast in amber, glow more beautifully through the years as the happy endings finally reveal themselves and flow slowly into the bright and mysterious river of the Divine." When Doris first told her son of her plans his reaction: "First of all, of course, he said "Oh boy." That was a natural reaction, along with the quick, severe stare through his eyebrows.
Granny's perspectives on campagin finance reform, the role of government, and the capacity for change are enough to catalyze even hardened pessimists.
Haddock requested a name change of her middle name to "Granny D", the name by which she had long been known.