by Larry Mitchell
Published on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 by Oroville Mercury Register
Preaching love and
campaign-finance reform, 97-year-old "Granny D" spoke in
Chico Monday.Surely one of America's oldest political activists,
Doris "Granny D" Haddock is renowned for promoting her
cause by walking across the country when she was 89.
The New Hampshire resident spoke to about 50 people in the Chico
City Council Chambers at noon Monday and planned to give a second talk
at Chico State University later in the day.
At the Council Chambers, Haddock called for action against the "giant beast" of unrestrained capitalism.
"A century ago, the ordinary people of America joined together
to tie down this giant," she said. "The robber barons
remained tied down for a time. Now, loosed again, these giants have
taken over the television networks and most of our newspapers."
The new laissez-faire philosophy, which she called "neoliberalism," creates wars and drains money from vital
government functions, like police, fire protection, schools and health
care, she said.
The solution is publicly funded political campaigns, she suggested.
Since politicians depend on big corporations to finance their
campaigns, they do the bidding of those companies once they are in
office. If the public paid for campaigns, elected officials would
really follow the will of the people, she said.
Haddock suggested Americans are "drones" who go to work
each day, watch television each night to "receive instructions on
what to buy," then go to sleep to rest up so they can work long
hours the next day.
"That's not freedom by any name," she said.
Haddock said she's glad Arizona and Maine now have public
funding of campaigns and hopes more states will follow their example.
There are "two kinds of politics in the world," she
said. The "politics of love" and the "politics of
The first is characterized by "cooperation, sharing and
inclusion." The second involves "narrow ideology that
separates us, exploits us, demeans us and overcharges us."
These two political forms are now "pitted against each
other" in a battle that will define America in the future, she
Haddock said she got fired up about campaign-finance reform in the 1990s, when the McCain-Feingold bill had stalled in Congress.
On a trip to Florida with her son, she saw an old man walking along
the road with a pack on his back, and she asked her son what he was
"He's gone on the road again," her son said. Haddock told her son she wanted to do the same.
He would only allow it if she trained for a while and showed she was fit and could take care of herself out on her own.
Haddock was asked Monday when she is happiest.
"I'm always happy," she said though she admitted
she gets a little down once in a while, when the changes she seeks
don't seem to happen soon enough.
Haddock said she believes in Ghandi's message that "you
have to take on the burden yourself -- don't ask anyone else -- you have to do it yourself."
Staff writer Larry Mitchell can be reached at 896-7759 or email@example.com.
BACKGROUND: Activist "Granny D" walked across America when she was 89 and has been promoting political reforms ever since.
WHAT'S NEW: The unstoppable senior spoke in Chico Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Chico Peace and Justice Center.
HIGHLIGHTS: She has been arrested twice in demonstrations and has written a book, "Granny D: You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell."