As I age, I realize I still have a lot of growing up to do. There are many women I want to be when I grow up. Granny D. is one of them. I have long admired Granny D. and the work she did in her later years.
Granny D spent her late years raising a little hell. “You’re Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell” is the title of Granny D’s book about her hell raising. At the age of 90, in the year 2,000, she walked across America – 3,000 miles from California to D.C., to deliver her message to congress, where she was arrested at the U.S. Capitol, along with others. Her message was to request that elected officials stop the corruption of big money influencing elections in the United States.
Granny D’s statement when she appeared before the judge after that arrest:
So I am here today while others block the halls with their corruption. Twenty-five million dollars are changing hands this very evening at a fund raiser down the street. It is the corrupt sale of public policy, and everyone knows it. I would refer those officials and those lobbyists, Your Honor, to Mr. Bob Dylan’s advice when he wrote: “Come senators, congressmen, Please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall.” Your Honor, the song was a few years early, but the time has now come for change. The times are changing because they must. And they will sweep away the old politician –the self-serving, the self-absorbed, the corrupt. The time of that leader is rapidly fading. We have come through a brief time when we have allowed ourselves to be entertained by corrupt and hapless leaders because they offer so little else, and because, as citizens, we have been priced out of participation and can only try to get some enjoyment out of their follies. But the earth itself can no longer afford them. We owe this change to our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. We need have no fear that a self-governing people can creatively and effectively address their needs as a nation and a world if the corrupt and greedy are out of their way, and ethical leadership is given the helm. Your Honor, to the business at hand: the old woman who stands before you was arrested for reading the Declaration of Independence in America’s Capitol Building. I did not raise my voice to do so and I blocked no hall. But if it is a crime to read the Declaration of Independence in our great hall, then I am guilty.
After this monumental year Granny D spent her time hell raising in a variety of ways, including running for U.S. Senate. Granny D was truly an inspiring icon in our country. Her energy, passion, love, and hell raising is missed – but her spirit, and the spirit of her work, will live on forever.
This is the first in the series “Hell-Raisin’ Women”.