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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

"Granny D" Haddock

"Democracy is not something we have but something we do." Democracy is the basis of the philosophy that this, our country, was based on. Democracy is a system that establishes the power in the hands of the people. Not only is this power a granted right, but it is a responsibility. Democracy only works if the people of the nation participate. In the United States, however, less than fifty percent of the citizens are registered to vote. If the people aren't voting, aren't participating, then the power lies with the few, and in this country it lies in the hands of the few who can afford it. Doris Haddock does not accept this, but rather believes that one person CAN make a difference.

Granny Doris Haddock, now 97, lives in the woods in New Hampshire. She was born in 1910, attended Emerson University before marrying James Haddock, raised two children during the great depression, and was assistant to the president of Bee Shoes Company for twenty years becoming the second highest paid businesswoman in New Hampshire at that time. She is no virgin to hard work and accomplishment. At the age of 89, she lost her husband to a ten year battle with Alzheimer's, and her best friend. She thought that she was next. But each day came, and each day she woke to life. She needed a reason to live, and it was her country.

Granny Haddock started down the long road campaigning for the people. In 2004, she spent 7 months on the road for voter registration. After the defeat of Senator McCain and Senator Feingold's first attempt to remove unregulated "soft" money from campaigns in 1995, she began a 3200 mile walk across America from California to New Hampshire demonstrating her concern for the issue of campaign finance. At 89 years young she walked ten miles a day for fourteen months, walking as a pilgrim at the mercy of the people for food and shelter. It took two more years of demonstrating and rallying for the bill to pass.

In 2003, the Democratic candidate for Senate dropped out just days before the filing deadline. Encouraged by friends and family and her desire to "raise a little more hell" she filled his spot, filing one day before the deadline. The race was on, against Judd Gregg, a 2 time incumbent who had just previously been the governor of New Hampshire. "Granny D" started by doing what she did best; walking. She set out on a 250 mile walk around the state, five miles a day, meeting the people she was hoping to represent.

Granny Haddock has done many things in her life, but debating is something she had never done. In fact, she was scared to death of it. But she was requested, and with the lack of funding, this was the best exposure money couldn't buy. So, the debate was on! The debate was going to run under the format of journalists posing questions, then the candidates would ask one question of each other. When questioned about whether Wal-Mart was a good or bad thing for New Hampshire, Gregg responded that any business that brought jobs was a good thing. Granny beckoned to disagree, that she had walked around the state and seen the towns that Wal-Mart had taken over.

The independent stores were boarded up, and instead of steady, reliable jobs, they brought part-time jobs with no benefits. Gregg posed his question to Granny; "what did she think was the most important environmental issue regarding New Hampshire." She replied that it was the air and water. Her greatest concern was for the level of mercury in the water. She had seen him fishing the day before and hoped that he had not eaten what he had caught because the mercury levels were unsafe. This was not so before he and G.W. Bush had taken office. The results were in- she won the debate 75% to only 23% for her opponent.

It appeared that one person could make a difference, that she could be the monkey wrench thrown into our current corrupt system. But would it be enough to be victorious on election day? Even though she received more votes then anyone ever dreamed, it was not enough, Gregg emerged victorious. "I may have lost the election, but I have not lost my reason to live", the brave words of a woman who would not be laid down to rest. Because of this woman, more people are registered to vote, less people are willing to accept our current campaign finance tactics, and everyone has been touched by her commitment to democracy. "Our country is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. And if that is not worth fighting for, I don't know what is."

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