Saturday, February 05, 2005

Granny Haddock

"Granny D" is known for having walked across America to promote campaign finance reform. That is the first time I met her, when she stopped to speak with students at UofA about the need for reform in America. I must say, that one hour-long discussion with a small group of students and Granny D did more to shape my view of American politics than a major in political science. She ran against NH Rep. Bass when no one else dared, promising to serve only one term in Congress and pointed out that Bass was reneging on his earlier pledge not to serve more than 2 terms. She lost, but her campaign was a victory in itself.

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, 95, is in a Lebanon, New Hampshire hospital today. She is undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in her throat. The surgery is expected to cost her her normal voice, though she said before surgery that she will find ways to continue to communicate her political message of reform and democracy.

"Sometimes you speak loudest just by standing there," she said, remembering her several arrests in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for standing up for the Bill of Rights and democratic reforms.

For friends wishing to send cards, her address for the next five days will be:

Doris Haddock
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
1 Medical Center
Drive, Lebanon NH 03756


There will be updates on Granny D's condition on the DemocracyWeek.org. For those of you who heard her speak in Washington DC during the recent counter-inaugural protests, cherish that memory of the great sound of her voice -- one of the few in our times with the courage to speak the truth.

Her remarks that infamous morning (Jan 20) at Meridian (Malcolm X) Park:

Thank you.

We have honored Dr. King this week. When we honor him we honor many others, all the way back in time to the Sermon on the Mount and beyond, who have given us, if we will but use them, the political tools of love and their great power over all other human forces.

Gandhi taught us that, when used right, non-violent non-cooperation always wins. He gave us five principles to remember in its use: First, know that you are dealing with the truth. Do your research. Bring in the experts. Know the truth before you dare speak for it.

Second, ask those in authority to remedy the problem at hand, and give them a reasonable time to act. Don't ask them to do more than they can.

Third, involve the wider community's conscience in the problem. Share the problem widely.

Fourth, if those in power will not remedy the problem, show the extent of your moral concern through your personal sacrifice. Stand in the way of the injustice with your own body, doing no harm to others, for it is your moral courage that will move the conscience of society toward awareness and action. If you have not won yet, your sacrifice has been insufficient. The fifth principle, because the previous four will give you control of the issue, is to graciously allow the opposing side to save face in the final settlement, as you must love them, too, and will meet them again.

We have the power to win, to serve justice, to protect our neighbors and our planet, but victory comes at the price of our courage and our pain.

So we have our issues. A warming planet, an unjust war, a long list of policies that do great harm to the people and places of the world. We have done our homework and know the truth. We have petitioned for the redress of our grievances and we have waited. We have informed the world so that many are involved. We know what is next for us and it is the fourth principle: our sacrifice.

So that our great grandchildren will look back and say of us, yes, in the
first years of the 21st Century, they faced the most difficult of times with extraordinary courage. They knew they would not live forever and they cared that their lives and deaths should mean something. They saved American democracy and the life of the planet with their creative resistance and their courage. While others around them slept through grey lives, they were awake, they saw, they acted, they overcame all the great forces against them. They saved the forests and mountains, the oceans, streams, the air, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, they saved our ancient hope for a just world, for a peaceful world, where the highest potential of every human might be understood as the greatest resource of every society and nation.

Well, we know where we are and who we struggle against. I have been in their jails and it's not so bad. I know many of you have been in their prisons and felt the sting of their batons and bullets and gasses, and it is not so bad, compared to losing our freedom or the life of our planet.

The limousines of monstrous presumption whisk by us today, but we need not feel powerless, for the real power of history is always in the people's hearts and hands. All the power of change is given by fate and history to the courageous, who fear the loss of liberty and justice more than that brief glimmer of life that sparkles through the eternity of who we are. And so we take our parts in the great struggle between dark and light, fear and love, between the withering decomposition of separation, and the living joy of combination, cooperation and growth.

Let our neighbors, who have voted another way or not at all, see what we are made of and what we are willing to do for love, for life, for justice. Only a few more of them need step forward to our side for love and life and justice to win. They will not step forward if we are not full of courage and grace and beauty and most of all love. We will inspire them with awe. For, from this time forward, our courage must rise to end the war and the coming wars, to end the destruction of our land and its people, and of our planet and its life. With love in our hearts, with a vision before us of a better America made visible in our own lives, we will do what history demands of us now. And so say us all.


And so say us all. Best wishes, Granny D, and speedy and complete recovery to you.

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