Sunday, July 15, 2012
a higher mind
I find myself recalling Doris Haddock, or Granny D as she became known toward the end of her life, who in her 90th year walked from Santa Monica to Washington DC to call attention to the need for campaign finance reform. That was in 1999 and 2000, and since she passed on the political deformity she protested has grown much worse.
She stopped in Madison, Wisconsin at the Reform Party convention the year of her long walk, and spoke to the delegates of the overwhelming evil that had crept into the American political system and had become its dominant characteristic, "Due" she said "to the twin judicial fictions that money is speech, and that a corporation is a person."
She was a simple person, a wife and mother who worked 20 years as an executive secretary for a shoe manufacturing company in her home state of New Hampshire. At the time she took her personal campaign for reform from coast to coast she suffered from an arthritic foot and emphysema, but still undertook what would have been difficult for someone half her age in good physical condition. She was determined.
In 2008 she ran for the US Senate as New Hampshire's Democratic nominee, losing to the Republican incumbent Greg Judd, and died in 2010 at age 100.
Doris Haddock took any political conversation in which she engaged to a level much higher than we're used to. Why do we tolerate the disgusting crudities of sound-byte-campaigning, the raw corruption of the artillery duels with giant checks as ammunition, or the bully-boy intimidation of the mobilization of mass-media propaganda? Are we stupid, or simply too immoral to care?
Maybe we shouldn't answer those questions. We might find out more about ourselves than we want to know, but Granny would never have tolerated that kind of willful ignorance. She died too young, because we need her today more than ever.