“Democracy is not something we have, it’s something we do.”
-Doris Granny D Haddock
In January 1999 Doris Haddock laced up her sneakers and went for a walk.
She left the sun kissed sidewalks of Pasadena, a leafy suburb of Los Angeles, and headed East, all the way East in fact, to Washington DC.
This 89 year old widow, mother, grandmother and great grandmother would arrive on the steps of Capitol Hill four years later, having covered 22,000 miles by foot and at the height of winter by ski.
Her mission? To campaign against the malign influence of special interests and big money in American politics.
A year after completing her four year trek across America Granny D hit the headlines again when she ran for the US Senate in her home state of New Hampshire against a formidable opponent, Republican Greg Judd. True to her principles, Doris Haddock funded her senate run purely on small donations.
You can watch the documentary made about her run for the US senate online freely and legally at snag films: http://bit.ly/CgETu. I’ve included a preview of Run, Granny Run below.
Doris Granny D Haddock died on March 9, 2010, aged 100. Her obituary in the Economist paid better tribute to Granny D’s life, work and epic trek than I ever could. You can read the full obit here: http://econ.st/hWFbkq.
Granny D died, still fighting for the campaign finance reform she believed would help return the power of democracy to the hands of ordinary Americans. Just days before she celebrated her 100th birthday, Granny D would see the most progressive step towards reform so far, the McCain-Feingold Act, overturned in the Supreme Court.
But the pensioner who trekked across America, who drove her brightly coloured vote-mobile through swing states, who had Senators cowering beneath her grandmother glare was not afraid of an uphill climb.
Faced with this latest roadblock Granny D was already planning the next step in her long walk. Her unflappable faith in the power of ordinary people and the value of democracy makes Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock a natural woman of the sky.