Doris "Granny D" Haddock

Waking Up the Vote

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, 94, is on a 15,000-mile voter registration trek through the swing states. The following is a speech she gave in Gainesville, Florida on March 7.



I am on a long trek across our beautiful country to see what one person and a few friends might do to engage more citizens in this democracy and to have them participate in the coming election in a way that will provide us with leadership that we will all have had a hand in selecting. That may seem like boring old politics, but it is much more than that, at least to me. And my journey is a great joy.

On the farms where I have stayed, and in the poorest corners of our poorest neighborhoods, I have met so many people who are kind and generous and full of dreams for their lives and for their community and for their country. It is heartbreaking sometimes to see how far their reality is from their dreams. Can I do anything to be of assistance? It is a simple question.

I am not an expert. I have no special university degrees or training that might suggest I have a role to play. And yet I do have a role to play, and so do we all. To be a citizen of the United States of America is a very big job but it takes no special qualifications other than a capacity for love and a determination to take your part.

In my travels, I have found communities waiting for ideas and leadership and hope. In the poorest communities of Tampa and Fort Myers and Miami I have met people who are alienated from our democracy. They live in another nation, almost. They long for respect, inclusion, prosperity, dignity. They search for it in their own way.

Remarkably, they have the power to bring great resources to their communities and their families if they would vote as a community -- not only for senators and presidents, but for city councilmen and county commissioners. Getting them to do that is like dragging someone from a gas-filled house: they are too overcome sometimes to do anything but lay down.

So we have, with the leadership of those areas, conceived ways to drag people into the fresh air where they might find their power over their own lives.

Let me tell you about one program we are building, called "Vote for Me."

It began when the young artist traveling with me put out poster boards and blank bumper stickers and crayons at a block fair in a poor neighborhood of Miami. She asked the kids to make a "Vote for Me" poster or bumper sticker. All were different and all were beautiful, creative, surprising. We presented these treasures to their parents with the message that the adults are indeed voting for their children when they vote, and that they are voting against them when they fail to vote. There are too many education, health, economic opportunity and justice issues in play to think that who we vote for does not affect our children's lives. It is a message that people instantly understand.

This idea connected with an idea that sprung up in Fort Myers. An African-American leader worried with us that all the coming voter registration programs will fall on deaf ears in the poorest neighborhoods, especially among the youngest voters. Even if they are registered, they will do on election day whatever their peers are doing. Few of us, at that age, are stronger than the tides of our peer group.

But, we thought, what if, when those young people were registered to vote, they were given a bracelet with the name of someone who gave their life for freedom or for equality -- someone who can no longer vote for themselves, but for whom the wearer of this bracelet might vote. The bracelet will come with the story of that person, and it will say, "Vote for Me." This emotional bond may become important enough to this new voter that he or she will break away from the normal activities of November 2, 2004 and show some respect for this name.

Within those same communities, we are working with gospel churches to create a "Wake up and Vote" gospel music tour, and we are working on a program called "Stretch the Vote," in which stretch limousines will shuttle between the poling places and the neighborhoods on election day. Whatever it takes to wake up the spirit, generate a smile, make it a day of fun and liberation, we shall do. There are many programs from other organizations, too: Arrive with Five, Mi Familia Vota, and many more.

It is a time to look at the deep needs of such communities. During the Clinton Administration, some 100,000 new police were put on our streets in an effort to make America safer. It did so, but at a great expense. Would some of that money have been better spent on community programs to improve life in poor areas? Perhaps. But the cities were made safer. Sometimes young people were stopped for a broken tail light and were found to be in possession of something that led to a felony arrest. It is hard for them to get their voting rights back after they have paid the price for that error. It is also a problem for them when they apply for jobs -- they are stuck for life, it seems, at minimum wage.

We need a "clean slate" program to erase these criminal records after a period of lawful behavior. No judge intended these to be lifetime sentences, and that is what they are in terms of job prospects. If we provide leadership in areas such as this, believe me, the mothers and grandmothers of the housing projects will become very interested in politics and voting and all that comes with it. It is no good for the Democrats or anyone else to show up in these communities a few minutes before each election and ask for votes, when poverty and agony are never improved by it.

These people see the elites of the right fighting with the elites of the left. And that is all it is, usually. Even when the elites of the left are elected, there are never enough resources provided to really solve problems of the poor on the required scale. Unless we address this failing on our part, we have no right to ask people in poor communities to register just because we want them to. Part of waking up the vote is waking up our own moral sensibilities.

Now, I am telling you all this because I think it is amazing what can be done -- what can be well started -- when you come and you have your eyes and your ears wide open. I need hearing aids, you know, but I can still listen and I do. My eyes are old but they see injustice very clearly. My legs are frail but they can walk me through hard places where beautiful people live and dream.

What can one person do? What can you do? Anything and everything. You will not believe it, but the world is waiting for your ideas, your creative energy, your love, and your courage. It is your world, and you are remarkably more in charge than you can imagine. Have the courage to dream, to lead and to follow. I include the word "follow" because the progressives, of which I am one, are rather leadership-averse, and they would sometimes rather trade emails back and forth and draft long statements of their precious positions on this or that than to actually pick a leader, be good followers and get things done that need doing in the world. And real progress is always an occasion for shoe leather more than email.

Just do it, friends. It's all out there and it's beautiful beyond description.

Let me say one more thing. I am hoping all the progressives who have had candidates in the presidential race will join forces in a new progressive organization, and I hope that can begin this month. I specifically hope Mr. Kucinich and Gov. Dean will have a conversation about that soon. In person yesterday, I have asked Mr. Kucinich if he will call the Governor about joining forces for a new progressive organization, and he said he would make that call.

Politics is a means of creating social change. The most important word in politics is the word "energy," because energy is needed to overcome inertia of rest, to lift us forward out of the old ruts in which the wagons of civilization get bogged down.

There are two kinds of political energy: joy and fear. Too often, we progressives succumb to using the politics of fear, which is the specialty of our opponents. The politics of joy is more powerful.

We live the free, creative, just and sustainable life we would hope will spread to others. Our events and our words and our campaigns must be expressions of this better world. Our politics must be grounded in the joyful present moment, not dragged from a fearful future. Even our most progressive candidates project fear of the future when they should operate from the joy of the present. That is who we are. We are about life, in all its flowering forms, and we are about love. We celebrate this. We are fearless of the future, for if we make too much space in our hearts for fear, we lose the joy that is the energy we need to move our people forward.

So break out the food and the drinks and the kites and the music and the art and the creative juices of the moment. We must create a moving feast, a moving celebration of life. We must put the party back in party politics, and you will see who joins us.

Thank you.

Read Granny D's weblog at GrannyD.com.

Reflections at Monticello

I woke up this morning in Charlottesville, Virginia and looked up the hill rising above me. It is Monticello, the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson. The first light of the day was brilliantly reflecting in the windows of the elegant buildings atop the little mountain -- a shining brow of that hill where one of the chief architects of our freedom once so brilliantly thought and wrote and lived.

Mr. Jefferson is a good symbol for the complexity of the American experience: a slaveholder who wrote about the self-evident rights of people to be free. His courage at the crisis moment of our young nation, and his great mind and eloquence, certainly redeem him in most American eyes.

It is often a moment of courage in a great time that redeems us of our many shortcomings. So it has been for so many of our friends and relatives in the great wars that have so fully tested courage.

It is Veterans Day. It is a day for calling up those old friends and family members who summoned all their courage to do the right thing as they saw it -- for peace or war -- in a difficult time. I will call those people in my family today. Thank God there is no Hallmark card for it. We are allowed to speak for ourselves -- the simple "Today is Veterans' Day and I wanted to let you know that I remember and appreciate what you did so many years ago for us all." It is so welcome a call. It gives such meaning to lives otherwise compromised by the complexities and conflicts of industrial life. I hope you will make such a call today yourself, and will pass along this reminder to others.

I remain on my voter registration trek. The old van is in the shop today so we cannot move on to Richmond for a day or two, so I will do some more tabling at the University of Virginia here. I am rounding up volunteers who will help us table at the big stores next month, all over the US.

But for now, this morning, I am looking at the glint of sunrise still flashing along the top of the magic hill before me. It is moving to me to see the place still so alive and brilliant, as we all must be if our democracy is to move forward from this time of crisis.

As with that democracy, this is a time to make repairs and thank those who have gotten us here.

Worthy Dreams

Editor's note: The following is a speech delivered at a Rolling Thunder Tour event in Manchester, NH.


Well here we all are again, some of us together for the first time but many of us now getting to know each other rather well. This has been a special time in the history of our nation. Through our anger and our pain we have also found great joy. It is the joy of making our lives mean something – it is the joy of connecting with deep values and worthy dreams.

And in the past few months I have come to understand that human values and truth are winning, as they sometimes do. They are lighting up the dark and challenging the politics of fear and lies with the politics of love and truth.

We don't know how many times we will be able to meet together – life is short – so we should savor these moments. We should take a moment to recognize what has been done by a small group of these friends here present and so many others around our nation.

One of my favorite moments in this hard time was when, in a District of Columbia courtroom, as I stood accused of reading the Declaration of Independence aloud in the Capitol Rotunda, and for which I and many of my friends had been arrested and jailed – we were there to push for campaign finance reform and to ask Congress to declare its independence from special interest money – the judge passed judgment on us. He could have kept us in jail for some time, of course. What dear old Judge Hamilton said was exactly this – it is from the court record:
"As you know, the strength of our great country lies in its Constitution and her laws and in her courts. But more fundamentally, the strength of our great country lies in the resolve of her citizens to stand up for what is right when the masses are silent. And, unfortunately, sometimes it becomes the lot of the few, sometimes like yourselves, to stand up for what's right when the masses are silent."
Well, he wasn't just speaking to me and to my friends in that room. He was speaking to you – you brave souls who dared be Americans when that meant speaking out for the soul of your nation, against a torrent tide of madness. It became the lot of the few to speak out even when the greatest newspapers and news broadcasters were silent, and when our very Congress was spineless and complicit. You stood in small groups on street corners with signs. You wrote letters and you protested and you emailed, emailed, emailed and shared what you could find out. You suffered name-calling and abuse and many of you went to jail. Our founding fathers led a revolution with bravery, but they were a strong brotherhood of great men acting together, and sometimes it was just you, and just him, and just her, and I want to say how proud I am of all of you, for the tide has turned and you have turned it.

And sure, we have a long way to go, and the suffering is only beginning, and the forces of fear are still in their ascendancy, though we now see their mortal arc. We know now that a sleeping nation has awakened and our dear neighbors and our Congressmen and newsmen who were so long asleep or so bent under their anchor desks in fear have begun to remember who they are and what there jobs are.

And who was it who held the torch while they were away but you, and you and you – ye band of sisters and brothers?

Can we see forward to a time when the American government represents, all over the world, the best and happiest instincts of the American people? Can we see a time when we, each of us, can live in responsible balance with nature and all other people? Can we evolve to our better selves as a nation, whose people are at the reins of our own government and whose harsh past, harsh from its very beginning, can move into the light? What better thing have we got to do?

Indeed, we have waited for the last minute, for the glaciers of our beautiful old planet are melting and the people we have injured and oppressed are no longer impossibly far away. We have come to a century of come-uppance, and we can, I believe in my heart, come up to it. We have no choice, nor would we want any other choice but to do our honorable best in the broad world and here at home.

And now we have our election coming.

Well, we all have jobs to do in the next months. Many of you will work for candidates. I think you must do that, and spare the fighting among yourselves in favor of moving the message out to those who have given up on voting. We need those votes, friends, and they do not come toward negative campaigning.

For myself, I intend to do one thing in this election.

Let me tell you that, for many long years, I worked in a shoe factory here in Manchester. I know what it means to be a working woman. It is hard in this culture, for there are many demands placed upon you. There is little time for anything but for life's essentials.

In this election, voting has become one of life's essentials.

I want to help as many working women as possible by bringing them what they need to register to vote and to see that they have the time off to vote, the rides to the polls or the reminders they need to do this important thing for themselves, their retirement, their families, and for their America and its freedoms and its justice.

I love my little house in the woods of New Hampshire. I am comfortable there, next to a bright stream. But I will be happy to run an errand, and I will do it very soon. I will travel to work sites where women work to bring them what they need to vote. I will walk through many towns to do this, finding as many workplaces as I can, and I am going to buy a little red wagon for my voter supplies. I will be happy to be driven between towns so that I can cover the ground more quickly than when I walked the nation. My friends have helped me map it out. We will cover 36 states and, with the help of my friends, we will visit 100,000 workplaces. There is only one thing that could possibly keep me from getting back home in time to vote, and either way I shall be happy.

I do expect to be around for several more elections, but you never know. If this is my last wish tour, then my last wish is that America's women, who worked so hard amid great violence for the right to vote, take that now as a sacred duty in 2004. It is not particularly easy to travel at my age, but I hope they will take my little sacrifice as a nudge to inconvenience themselves and vote.

I will need your help. Go to GrannyD.com and volunteer to help me along the way. And if there is something I can do along the way to help you in your own mission, just ask.

Our friends and neighbors are full of common sense, and that is what a democracy requires. If they have good information from awakened news people and from candidates who will please, God, spare us the platitudes and spend their millions on useful information so that a great nation might make an informed choice, then we have good reason to let our hearts fill with hope. We must all talk-up the election. We must all share information with our neighbors. We must speak in calm tones and respect the dignity of our opponents even when it is clear they are scoundrels, for the tone of our society is a part of the substance of our society.

We must encourage our free press as it sputters back to life. Not only must we demand and encourage good reporting, but we must take the best stories and copy them out and share them with our friends and neighbors – to double their effect. And we must encourage the news networks to get back in the business of exit polling during the election. Many of us are worried about the honesty of our elections. The networks pulled away from exit polling because they thought – or they say they thought – that they got it wrong in Florida. In fact they got it right. They do get it right and they are our best safeguard now for an honest election. Demand exit polling. Create petitions to insist on it, and to pledge to only watch coverage by networks who will provide it. And I hope good watchdog organizations will be on hand to make records of those who are turned away from voting.

And for ourselves more personally, we must vote and take our neighbors to vote and call from lists that we must make to see that this is a turnout like no other. And then our democracy will be safe enough to begin its larger awakening, and God help us to see that day, for the world and all nature awaits that joy.

Finally, let me say that my hope is that we all vote so that our leaders will be an expression of our highest civic values. You know, it is interesting that the United Nations headquarters is in our country. It is interesting because the United States is in a real sense a union of nations. Look around your community and you will see your fellow Americans who are Iraqis and Palestinians and Jews and Russians and French and Irish and Africans and South Americans and Europeans and Catholics and Mormons and Buddhists and Sikhs and Moslems and Baptists and Asians and Pacific Islanders and all the rest. This nation is a union of the world's people and, my, that is a grand thing to celebrate. Our president and our other leaders must be worthy of that America, and they must be men and women of peace and creativity and joy. Only with such leadership, where all our children are raised together with the best we can give them, where our adventures into the broad world are unselfish and full of light, can America prosper and survive this amazing time. What work we have to do, and how we do love it!

A Small Group of Dedicated People Might Actually Do Something

The following is from a speech Granny D gave in Hood River, Oregon on Aug. 16, 2003.

Well, you've heard that wonderful Margaret Mead quote about how you should never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, and that, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Well, I think it's time we stopped repeating that quotation and came to some agreement about what we happy few might do over the next five years or so. That is the purpose of my remarks today.

You know, there are two kinds of politics in the world: the politics of love and the politics of fear. Love is about cooperation, sharing and inclusion. It is about the elevation of each individual to a life neither supressed nor exploited, but instead nourished to rise to its full potential -- a life for its own sake and so that we may all benefit by the gift of that life. Fear and the politics of fear is about narrow ideologies that separate us, militarize us, imprison us, exploit us, control us, overcharge us, demean us, bury us alive in debt and anxiety and then bury us dead in cancers and wars. The politics of love and the politics of fear are now pitted against each other in a naked struggle that will define not only the 21st century but centuries to come.

This struggle is real. A very close friend of mine, a college student, spent this summer in Guatemala to help small communities prosper in ways that support their local environments. Those villagers and their environments are under siege by international big business, using a captured U.S. government to push through damaging treaties such as the proposed Central America Free Trade Agreement and the hemisphere-wide Free Trade Area of the Americas. The villagers of Guatemala want global fair trade, but the corporations and their captive governments want free trade. If fair trade wins, a global middle class will rise, as farmers and craftsmen are paid fairly for their work, and as they gain a voice in their governance and their environments are protected for their future generations. If free trade wins, it is colonial exploitation, torture and murder written in blood across another century.

Or do you wonder if it is really an honest difference of opinion as to which policies are best for the people? On July 24, three armed gunmen broke into the home where my young friend was staying in Guatemala, dragging her and another young woman to the ground, covering their heads with blankets. These young women began to count their lives in seconds. For three-quarters of an hour, the gunmen went through the biodiversity files in the home. Big business interests in Guatemala, in league with elements of the military, are trying to push through the passage of free trade agreements and to do it they must supress all dissent. Their partner and blood brother is the U.S. government. Not the U.S. government that we see, but the U.S. government that much of the rest of the world sees: a world of CIA treachery, the training of death squad leaders in our own Army facilities within the U.S., and a big business-friendly White House that winks and nods as great injustices continue.

The two women survived, but tens of thousands have not, because they are in the way of big business. It is not an honest difference of opinion; it is a global struggle of people versus a global crime syndicate that counts taken-over governments and multinational corporations among its members.

There is a term now in common use in Latin America that is confusing to us Americans. It is called neoliberalism and it is a very dirty word indeed among the brave pro-democracy and fair trade groups throughout the Americas. "Neoliberal" sounds like the happy return of the Kennedys, but it is not. Nor is it about some resurgence of the liberal values of the Square Deal or the New Deal or the War on Poverty or any of those great moments when we called upon our best instincts to cooperatively address our largest needs as a free and self-governing people. The liberation that we meant then when we used the word "liberal" was the liberation from poverty, despair and ignorance, the liberation of the mind through public education, the liberation of the citizen through universal voting, equal rights and equal opportunity, and the freedom to prosper from the fruits of our labors. But that is not the liberal that is meant by neoliberal. It means newly free to rampage. It means free of government constraint. It means free trade over fair trade.

"Neoliberalism" refers to the liberation of a giant beast that we, the ordinary people of America -- the farmers, the townsmen and townswomen, the trade unionists -- tied down to the earth early in the 20th century and it is that beast that has now gotten himself loose again to do great damage to us all. The deadly meanderings of this beast are most apparent in the most labor-intensive regions of the world, but the beast is here, too, and he has brought misery and suffering into your life and mine, stealing our water, blowing up our mountains, fouling our air and seas, and stealing our lives and our future at every turn. Neoliberalism is the colonialism department of neoconservatism.

How did we handle this evil giant before? The Teddy Roosevelt progressives, and the William Jennings Bryan populists before him, were part of a successful effort to tie down the giant. After the Civil War, at the high point of the Industrial Age -- the age of railroads, oil and steel -- great corporations and trusts were created that towered high over the human-scaled businesses of America's Main Streets and cast dark shadows over human liberty and happiness. These monstrosities treated humans as slaves. They robbed the public wealth and were properly called the robber barons of that Gilded Age. These giants freely stalked, destroying the economics of family farms and family businesses, corrupting our governments with great bribes and corrupt deals, and polluting our food, our land, water and air. They tore our families apart and dragged us into the hardest of hard times, as they have been liberated to do once more.

I am not talking about all corporations or all big business. Corporations of reasonable size are but groups of people. Beyond some point, however, the humanity falls away from an organization and all that is left is the will to power and profit. They care not that our seas and atmosphere are rapidly changing in ways that may lead to disaster and famine of unimaginable scale. They care not because they are not human and they have moved beyond human values. They do not need the fresh air or the water or the mountains or the birds. They are a kind of virus or a cancer, all prettied up with a nice logo and television commercials to tell us the most outrageous lies, one after the other. For in reality, they crush us under their boots and they pay off our political leaders with campaign contributions and other bribes. They trample on diversity of all kinds, including human personality, as fewer and fewer kinds of people can prosper in the world they are casting, and more and more of us are marginalized.

The big corporate empires would be powerless if they were not in league with crooked politicians. I do not mean that the politicians necessarily know what they are doing. The corruption is so immense that they cannot even see it, even when it pays their spouse and finances their reelection. These, the happily blind, populate Capitol Hill and our state capitols like vermin who have been for generations in deep caves where they gradually lose their vision and there other senses, too.

Well, two and a quarter centuries was a good run for this democracy, but a rebirth is long overdue, and it is indeed necessary if we are to save our freedoms and our human values here and abroad, and if we are to protect the beauty and sustaining graces of nature, including the positive sides of human nature.

What that Republican Teddy Roosevelt understood at the beginning of the 20th century was that, if the rights and fortunes of the human scale are to be protected, if the rights and fortunes of average Americans, small businesses, family farms and Main Street are to be protected from the ravages of overscaled business giants, then government must grow in size and power to protect us all. The big business wing of the Republican Party, under Taft, defeated the family business wing of the Republican and their leader, Teddy Roosevelt. It would take another Roosevelt and of another party to turn the Square Deal into the New Deal, under which government greatly expanded to protect the people.

That has not been altogether a happy strategy, as large government has its own costs to us and its own abuses. The Libertarians are our new and brave allies in the defending of the Bill of Rights from Bush's anti-American attacks through his henchmen Ashcroft and Ridge. But our friends the Libertarians would have us do away with most all of our government. Anyone who has paid too many taxes or dealt with too many rude and overly powerful bureaucrats understands the Libertarian's feelings, but I ask at least the intellectually honest Libertarians -- and there are many of them -- to wisely see that government, which is indeed a system of restraint -- must be matched in strength and scale to the corporate monstrosities that now have the ability and the willingness to destroy us -- to blow up the entire Appalachian Range for the profits of coal, for example, as is now happening -- or to steal for profit the water supply of whole regions, or to enslave whole regions at low wages rather than allow fair trade. Or to move every one of our good jobs overseas. These inhuman and inhumane organizations are stealing our lives and all nature around us.

Only government is large enough and powerful enough to reign in the corporations whose cold heartedness trades lives for profits all over the world. Republican Teddy Roosevelt began the buildup of big government solely to protect us from overlarge corporations so that they might not overwhelm us human beings. In doing so, he created a split in the Republican Party, and big business interests won. Perhaps the rational solution is to scale them both back -- corporations and government -- and let individual enterprise and individual freedom, and its many middle class treasures and blessings, blossom in the old battlefield. But there is no leadership for that, and governments are being stripped of all regulatory powers by the false religion of a new deity, the unfettered, liberated market. So, no longer protected by governments, we must fight the battle that is before us: human beings versus monstrous corporations and their bodysnatched government puppets. It is a battle of human scale versus monstrous scale, love versus fear.

What is happening now, of course, is that the neos in the Bush Administration (you can call them neoliberals or neoconservatives, though they are neo nothing except perhaps colonial and lithic) are starving government very much on purpose, and they tell us as much in their writing.

Huge military commitments, huge tax cuts to the wealthiest individuals and corporations, and huge budget deficits leave no money for the old New Deal programs like Social Security or newer programs such as Medicare. No money for schools, hospitals, police, fire, veterans -- no money for anything but the front lines of a corporatized military and a militarized corporatocracy.

A starved government -- once our government -- has no ability to restrain the liberated giant or to investigate his abuses or prosecute his crimes. And so, two years after Enron, but one person is behind bars. It is not for lack of villains, and, as all California cries, it is not for lack of victims. All right. When did this monster get untied? He did so in the era of corporate raiding, permitted and smiled upon by the Reagan Administration. Reagan admired those cowboy businessmen of the 1980s -- the corporate raiders who engineered hostile corporate takeovers. But those takeovers, allowed by hamstrung regulators, caused all large and mid-sized American corporations to go on a rampage of streamlining, outsourcing, wage-cutting, plant closings and job exporting. They did so to make themselves takeover-proof. It was no longer respectable to make a respectable profit and to serve your community with good jobs and fairly-priced goods and services.

The new mentality of profit maximization and unlimited mergers and no government control, was the untying of the monster and it was no accident. The ropes were further loosened in the greedy and morally corrupt Clinton and Bush administrations, until we find ourselves now with a government of, by and for the corporations. The new model CEO was the ruthless costcutter and dealmaker. CEO salaries went unbelievably high, where they have stayed. For every $100 that the average American worker makes, these top CEOs make $50,000. It is a moral outrage in the land of so many homeless and struggling and worried people.

A century ago, the ordinary people of America joined together to tie down the giant. The antitrust laws and environmental laws and the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain for wages and benefits all joined to nurture the restoration of a great middle class -- always the bedrock of democracy. The robber barons, the great giants, remained tied down, no longer free, liberated, to do as they pleased in crushing us with their great wealth and political power. And so it was for a time.

And now, loosed again, these giants have taken over our television networks and most of our newspapers, turning them against our interests and against the truth itself. These giants send our young people off to fight their commercial wars -- great profitable ventures.

How free are we now, friends? Check your bills and your bank account. How much time and leisure do you have to enjoy your life and friends? How is your place in your community as a free and equal citizen? Or are we drones that go to work, go to bed to rest for more work, go to the stores to spend all that we earn and more, and watch television to receive our instructions what to buy the next day, if we have jobs at all? Is that freedom by some other name? It is not freedom by any name and it is nothing to push on the rest of the world in the name of freedom.

These corporations steal our time with their computerized telephone switchboards and their long waiting lines and few employees. They steal our jobs and our benefits and our pensions. They use fear at every turn to sell us a little protection, and a little more. And they steal our senators and congressmen just when they might have earned their keep protecting our democracy.

What shall we do, my fellows, about these corporate giants stalking our earth freely? How shall we get our children home from their wars and ourselves free from their captivities?

We the people, acting together in the new ways made possible by electronic communication, must become the large counterbalance to these powers -- the counterbalance that our government no longer provides. By communicating and acting in concert, we can reward the good companies and thereby keep our money clear of the worst. We can make our demand for fair trade products and provide the shift in market share that will change the practices of those businesses that now exploit our brothers and sisters here and around the world. We can agree together which television news channel is the least objectionable, and agree to watch only that -- for our watching and buying habits are votes for the kind of world we will live in.

By nudging market share, our small group of dedicated people can influence great changes. We have the tools now to do this now. It will not be an easy task, but we have no real alternative if we are to save the world, and that is what we must decide to do.

Tell your favorite coffee house that, as of Earth Day 2004, you will only buy fair trade coffee. Let us give a "fair warning for fair trade" in this and other areas of products and services. Let us develop the best information about who is doing what, and let us use our new tools of electronic democracy to come to consensus regarding which companies deserve our support -- a reverse boycott on a global scale.

I will try to put information on my website about who is helping in this new effort, and I will put some printable cards there you can print to give a fair warning for fair trade to your favorite shops and other companies. And let us use each subsequent Earth Day to push for more improvement on every front, giving our fair warnings to move progress along. Let Americans and other people of the earth join us or not. But let them decide and know for themselves which side they are on.

Yes, let's continue our efforts to reform our government, most especially with campaign finance reform. But, with revolutionary new tools, we are capable of redefining democracy at a critical moment. Let us not be shy about it for time is short. We stand for love and fairness in the world. That is not gentle work, nor is it painless or bloodless, as so many people around the world know.

This is, after all, our world and our lives. Do you remember those few weeks after the 9/11 attacks when we, as an automatic antidote to the inhumanity of those attacks, sought to reassert our humanity again in a million little ways? For that moment we came out of the hypnosis we have come to live under and we saw the Eden of human love and cooperation. We must not fall back under that hypnosis again, as it is a waste of our life. The forces of life and death are in struggle, for those are the other names for love and fear. Let us choose life and love, and happily use ourselves up in loving service to one another.

To read more of Doris Haddock's writings, visit GrannyD.com.

The Great Political Awakening

Doris "Granny D" Haddock gave the following speech March 8 at the Code Pink International Women's Day March in Washington.

We meet in disturbing times but we must not be disturbed. We must be calm and peaceful, for peace cannot come from hearts disturbed and angry. And peace, if it is to come, must come first from our own hearts.

Here are some things to give us some calm comfort. France and Germany are together in something at last, and our man in the White House deserves a Nobel Peace Prize at least for that, if for nothing else.

The man in the White House is the best political organizer we have ever had. He generated the largest protest demonstrations the earth has ever seen last month. He has us organizing on the peace front, the civil liberties front, the environmental front, the domestic budget front -- everywhere, people are waking up after a long sleep. It is a dangerous time, but a great time -- a great awakening -- and we must give credit to the man whose monumental presumption has made this possible.

Will our hearts be on a roller coaster of his design? Will he control our happiness and our anger? We must not give him that. There is only one way off this roller coaster, and that is to focus our lives now on November 2, 2004. That is the mountaintop we must have in the center of our vision.

Here is what we must do. We must of course find a good candidate who can represent all of us well, including the moderate middle of American thought, where elections are won. We must not look for the perfect candidate, but for a candidate who believes in the value of life on earth and who will uphold the Bill of Rights, which is now under attack by Bush's wildly unpatriotic Patriot Act and the proposed Patriot Act II, which is a treason.

The man in the White House believes that, when our American soldiers start coming home to our communities in coffins, we will rally 'round him -- that we will forget what he did to our budget surpluses, our Social Security funds, our Medicare, our pensions and stocks. Merciless rulers from time out of mind have tried that bloody distraction. We are not distracted by the blood of our own sons and daughters, Mr. Bush. Each drop of that precious blood calls our hearts to an election next year and we are an army of people who come against you at the ballot box. Harm our children and watch us.

In the 2004 presidential election, we must not split our vote between Greens and Democrats. I know the Greens have party building to do, but, if Mr. Bush wins again, there will be no America for them to build their party in. So they must defer this time and earn our respect and admiration for doing so.

Here is what you and I must do. We must arrange to vote by absentee ballot in the general election, so that we can go to the swing states and work to get out the vote on election day. I will do that, will you?

If you live in a swing state, of course, you can do your work in your own neighborhood. But if you live in a state that is clearly on one side of the ledger or the other, you must get in your car or a bus or an airplane and go, at your own expense, to an area where you can do some good getting people to the polls. You can also do some good in advance of that to make sure that people are registered to vote.

We can be happy in this great adventure, upon which so much depends. We will not let anger and frustration poison our lives. We will get busy and make our plans. We look now to November 2, 2004. Sign up with me as a swing state suffragette on GrannyD.com or Swingstate.org. Let's build an army and be happy about it. When you were a child, did you not want a chance to save the world? Well, be happy. We have been given that job.

And a final word, let's stop agreeing to unreasonable police demands when we do our peace marches and rallies. The police have a duty to provide for the public's safety, but that isn't just auto traffic. We are the public and we have a right to peaceably assemble and we don't need permits to do so. They are our streets and our parks. We must stand up for our Bill of Rights and use the peace movement as the crowd to do it. No more cooperation with any police departments who do not take seriously their sworn duty to uphold the law, the highest law of the land being the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

Be happy. Enjoy this great awakening. Sign up at SwingState.org. Enjoy the beauty and love of this great time.

Thank you.

To read more of Doris Haddock's writings, visit GrannyD.com.

Granny D Turns 93

The following is a speech that Doris "Granny D" Haddock gave to a crowd of 400 in Keene, New Hampshire on Jan. 25, 2003.

My family belongs to a group of families who, together, provide for the annual income of a local farmer, in exchange for the food he produces. It is an organic operation, which not only means that dangerous chemicals are kept out of the foods, but also out of the soil and the water that flows eventually into the rivers and seas.

How we live shapes the entire world. I am no angel. I buy clothing that is a bargain and I look at the tag with guilt if it is from some faraway place where the workers may be abused. My part of New England used to be a great textile center, so I also care about the fact that my purchasing may take jobs from my neighbors.

What we drive, what we buy, the entertainment we choose, the way we use electricity and water -- all of these things matter. Our little decisions work for or against our dream of a fair world that spins along with nature in balance and with people living well in their local economies. Poverty happens, war happens, imperialism happens, when all the little bad decisions of a nation's people accumulate and find political expression.

Just as an unbalanced mind can accumulate mental stresses that can grow and take on a life of their own, so the little decisions of our modern life can accumulate to the point where our society finds itself bombing other people for their oil, or supporting dictators who torture whole populations -- all so that our unbalanced interests might be served.

When we look at Mr. Bush and his war machine, and his rising campaign against our own freedoms and civil rights, we must think of it all as a mental illness that has come over the American mind. It is our illness.

Yes, we must stop this war. We must stop this attack on our Bill of Rights. But we are bailing out our flooding boat with our straw hats if we do not look to the cause of this insanity.

Sanity is in finding alternative energy rather than blowing up our Appalachian Mountains for their coal. Sanity is in buying bicycles or at least hybrid cars rather than bombing other people for their oil. It is in supporting our family farmers, especially the organic farmers, rather than suburbanizing all our land and turning to factory foods that are more health hazard than nutrition.

We cannot have world peace without peace in our own lives. We cannot attack our planet by the way we live, and then go off to a peace rally and hope to set right all the imbalance we have caused. Peace is first a private matter. It cannot grow except from there.

I know I will be in jail before Mr. Bush is out of the White House. I know some of you will, too. I know I will give my all to stop this unwarranted invasion of the world by this disturbed man and his disturbed friends. I urge you to fight as well. I urge you to go to the peace march in New York City on Feb. 15 and be a part of the largest American uprising in modern history.

But I ask you to do it not in anger, but in joy. Not in frustration, but in peace. Aren't we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between the forces of light and shadow, between togetherness and division? Between justice and exploitation? Oh, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time!

And be joyful because your house is in order. Your friends have your friendship. Your lover has your love. Your community has your support. Be peace itself at war with war itself. Take time for yourself and for your peace of mind. Look at your lifestyle and begin to make the adjustments you think wise and appropriate.

Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory. Will we rise up? Will we represent love in the world? If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won.

To read more of Doris Haddock's writings, visit GrannyD.com.

How to Break the American Trance

The following is a speech given by 92-year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the U.S. in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform. She made this speech to Citizens for Participation in Political Action in Boston, on Sept. 27, 2002.

I want to begin by congratulating you for all the work you do. I know it is often frustrating work. You are blessed to be able to see ahead to a world of cooperation and peace -- a world of justice and sustainable economies and meaningful democracies. You wonder why others cannot or will not see these things or reach out for them, and why they in fact oppose the obvious good -- why they take the part of the oppressor, the blindered war horse.

I would like us to take a few moments to consider why this work is so hard, and what we might do to move toward our common dreams more rapidly and with greater joy.

Some of you may be old enough to remember the Reagan Administration. Mr. Reagan and those around him believed in a very new kind of American hero. This new hero was a business hero -- not the fellow who built up a family furniture store on Main Street and supported the Little League and the Scouts; this new hero was not the woman who worked late hours to create a successful travel agency, nor was this new business hero anything like any of the hard-working Americans who built-up our middle class, advanced our standard of living and gave us the resources and leisure for the proper civic life of a democracy, with its leagues and Rotaries and Lions and Elks and VFWs and party conventions and all that glory.

No, the Reagan business hero was the corporate takeover artist.

Any regulations that might get in the way of these ruthless new capitalists were removed -- removed so that reptiles of uncommon greed and brutality might rule the earth, which they now nearly do.

What soon happened was that ALL corporations of medium size or larger had to look over their shoulders. How did a corporation protect itself in this environment from a hostile takeover? It had to close down any factories that were not earning obscene profits. Never mind that a factory had served a town well for a century, or that it provided a healthy and regular profit for its stockholders. If it seemed to be underperfoming by the new hypergreed standards, or if it could be closed in favor of opening a foreign plant that provided a slightly higher rate of return, then, in this new atmosphere, the company was derelict in its duty to its stockholders if it did not ruthlessly act.

Perfectly good and profitable factories were closed. Benefits to employees everywhere were attacked, and staffs were downsized, outsourced, computerized, downsized again, outsourced again to temp agencies that paid no health care or retirement, and on and on until America became a very different place. The gap between rich and poor is now wider than at any time in our history.

It is still a wealthy nation for many people, but poverty is on the rise, and those with jobs find themselves so overworked trying to make ends meet that there is little time for family or for the joy of living. Indeed, there is very little joy left in American life. Workers are not loyal to their companies, because companies treat them like expendable slaves, with no dignity or assurance that hard work will result in advancement or security.

We are living in the harsh world invented by a handful of corporate raiders whose values were completely foreign to the fairness and moderation that had so long served as the proper foundation of American success and the American dream of plenty for all. They were not a new kind of person, for there have always been among us a few reptilian hearts of uncommon greed. What was new was the political permission they received for their rape and rampage, which continues.

And so a new world devolved as if from a virus. The new business hero, a Horatio Alger on crack, did very well. The new model CEO derived from that moment -- the ruthless mercenary who would come in to reorganize a company and render it takeover-proof by rendering it inhumane. This executive was worth millions per year, we were told. In this way, a Darwinian system of corporate survival assured that the most carnivorous, rather than the most responsible, would rise to lead our most powerful commercial organizations. And if you need an explanation for Fox News or Enron, this is the history you need to remember.

These superwealthy predators now, through their political patronage, control both political parties. They control Congress and the White House. They control elements within your state house. They are not particularly smart people, as their current agent in the White House clearly demonstrates.

Here is how the takeover of corporations became the corporate takeover of American democracy: To get along and move up in one of these right wing business organizations, you have to be like the boss. The people working under you will then want to be like you to get along themselves. In Fox News, even reporters in local regions are told how to slant each story hard to the right. There is no pretense of journalism within the organization. And many people stuck in those jobs, who got into journalism with the idea of doing legitimate journalism, are sick to their stomachs every working day.

In this way, the right-wing leanings of a few people have distorted entire industries, including television news. Political leaders are quickly infected in this trickle down reptilism -- trickling down from the people who write the checks for political campaigns and who control political news.

And the reptilism trickles down further, to the weaker minds listening to talk radio or silly enough to spend too much time watching cable television news -- people who buy the lies, who are simply suckered into forking over their own political best interests to the con artists who attempt to pick their pockets at the same moment they are pointing out others who, they say, are the real trouble makers. About 25 percent of our people are susceptible to this kind of con, and they then give us problems by standing against any reasonable reforms. They have been spiritually twisted by the cheap poison of a hundred Rush Limbaughs into the angry, unthinking agents of the superrich.

On my long walk across America, a man driving a garbage truck told me that the biggest problem facing America today was the inheritance tax. I didn't have to ask him if he had a radio in his truck.

I remind you of all this because it is important to know that the reason our reforms are difficult is not because Americans are split into two camps, conservative and liberal. It is not like that at all. There are lots of conservatives and liberals in America, but we are not the two sides of the divide. True conservatives in our country don't have many political leaders to look to with respect. Among the last was Barry Goldwater. He believed that the government had no business in our bedrooms. He believed that a woman and her doctor didn't need the government's help in deciding her important issues. He would have laughed and then, I think, become very, very angry at Ashcroft's attacks on the Bill of Rights and his citizen-against-citizen snitching system. Goldwater believed that the only issue of importance regarding gays in the military was whether or not they could shoot straight.

What we are seeing now from the far right is not conservatism at all. It is fascism: the imposition of a national and worldwide police state to enforce a narrow world view that enriches and empowers the few at the expense of the many, and that gives no respect or honor to other cultures, ways of living, or opinions. To call that conservatism is a crime against the memory of America's great and true conservatives, who might think that government ought to be less involved in life than we old liberals would concur with, but who nevertheless stood for the core American values that today's right-wing leaders undermine at every opportunity.

We Americans are not split into liberals and conservatives. In fact, if you are running for office from the center, or from left of center, just do a better job of demonstrating how far right-wing your opponent is, and you will win more and more votes. You will win them from the vast number of people, most especially urban women and professional men, who identify themselves as Republicans for old time's sake, but who are very uncomfortable when forced to look squarely at the far right positions of many candidates running under the flag of the Grand Old Party. Given moderate alternatives, they will vote for them. That was exactly the truth that Clinton understood and exploited so brilliantly. He understood that Republicans are conservatives but the Republican Party is not. If you want to reflect upon how well he exploited this insight, remember that Hillary was a Republican when he met her.

If we Americans are split into two meaningful camps, it is not conservative versus liberal. The two camps are these: the politically awake and the hypnotized -- hypnotized by television and other mass media, whose overpaid Svengalis dangle the swinging medallions of packaged candidates and oft-told lies. It is all done to politically prolong the open season on us -- open season indeed, as the billionaire takeover artists bag their catch for the day. And in their bags are our freedoms, our leisure, our health care futures, our old age security, our family time, our village life, our family-owned businesses on Main Street, the middle class itself, and our position of honor and peaceful leadership in the world.

Once we understand what we are up against, and where the meaningful dividing lines truly run, our lives as reformers can be easier because we shall know how to proceed.

How to break the hypnosis is then the question. It is easy.

Pull any contractor out of his white pickup truck, turn down the talk radio blaring from it, and ask him, "Government good, or government bad?"

His glazed eyes will widen. "Government bad!" he will say.

Ok, good. You found one to play with.

Now, ask him what the town might do to make it safer for kids to get to and from school, and around town when they're not in school, without getting killed by traffic or getting in trouble. He will have a million ideas. Good ideas. He has no clue that he is being government -- if government is what happens when we get together to solve our common problems and to make life better for our communities.

You have broken his trance.

When a proposition is on the ballot, people talk about the mechanics of the idea, and the hypnosis is largely circumvented. You see quite progressive ballot propositions passing in otherwise quite unprogressive states. Why? Because people are problem-solvers at heart, and they enjoy it. They want to participate and be helpful and accepted as valuable players. It takes a lot of hypnosis to overcome that instinct, and a lot of hypnosis is what we have had. But we can get around it.

Government agencies, of course, have been the communitarian's worst enemies. Anything that smacks of bureaucratic rudeness or pushiness or counterproductive stubbornness does nothing but damage the idea that government is us -- we the people acting together to solve our problems as fellow citizens. That brand of government really needs to be stamped out whenever it shows its pinched, gray face. That is what can be done and must be done to prepare the ground for what must come next, which is a new engagement of citizens with the issues of interest to them in their communities. We should begin in our high schools. During the years from 13 to 19, lifelong civic values are formed.

We should start with our younger people. As community leaders, we should work with the popular history and civics teachers in our high schools to bring the issues of the day and the issues of the town into the classroom -- not to propagandize but to openly invite students to learn, research, and offer advice to the community on a wide range of issues. This is where the hypnosis falls apart. This is where democracy finds its feet again.

This summer I asked America's independent community radio stations to get involved with those same teachers in our high schools, to make students into community reporters and commentators. I reminded these indy news stations that they have the technology and the dramatic missions young people crave. I said young people will never become robots if they are enlisted in the cause of truth at an early age.

What we do in schools, we must also do in colleges and then in the general community. But if we only have the means to focus on the high schools, that is enough. These young people will be voting in only a few years. If we support their increased civic engagement as they move through college and into the community, we will have raised an army of citizens immunized against corporate hypnosis. Our victories for needed reforms will come naturally. With an engaged and informed citizenry, who knows what good we might do, and what great civilization we might yet again move toward?

True conservatives and liberals unite! Bring your issues and your opinions to our young people, and create a new expectation that they will get involved, get informed, and form a view of themselves as problem-solving citizens of a democracy. Our differences from the left or right are nothing compared to the differences between the politically awake and the hypnotized drones of the new colonialism that now stalks and shreds our civilization.

I urge you to think young, to link with moderates on the other side of the fence, and to approach the schools and teachers who can help you connect your young, rising citizens to the issues that will shape their lives.

If you believe that human beings, in addition to all their other instincts, want to help create and live in a happy, creative and cooperative world, then you must believe that people are to be trusted in their politics so long as they are encouraged to study everyone's experience and study the competing points of view -- and so long as they are raised with enough love and security to be capable of empathy. We need not force a liberal agenda on our society, any more than we need force our political opinions on our children. We can enjoy life instead of banging our heads against the old walls. If we encourage an awake thoughtfulness, democracy and justice will have all the victories our hearts can handle.

To read more of Doris Haddock's writings, visit GrannyD.com.

Terrorism and the Four Freedoms

The following is a speech given by 91 year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the U.S. in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform, in Unity, Maine on September 22, 2001.

It is hard to think clearly as we yet rock in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on our cities and our people. But think clearly we must. Politics is a serious business. Not everyone cares to listen when people argue about the policies and practices of our political leaders. Americans would rather be painting their house or going to a good ball game than listening to a speech, and that is not a bad thing. We wouldn't get much done if we just argued politics all the time.

But there is a time for it, and this is that time. Our neighbors and children are being killed in great numbers because Americans are not in control of the American government, and haven't been for some time. And now we are being killed by our own airplanes, just as we were killed in our African embassies in 1998 by our own explosives, which we gave to the Islamic fundamentalists so that they would please kill our then enemies, the Russians.

And four months ago the current Bush administration gave $43 million to the current Taliban Regime so that it would please kill our enemies, the heroin dealers of Afghanistan. Or was it to protect an oil pipeline? That's what we are now learning.

Our subcontracting of death has never done us much good, with Vietnam still the shining example, and with many other examples still bleeding in Central and South America, Africa, and in Southeast Asia.

The Coca-Cola company has been accused of financing the death squads in Columbia that kill union activists among the plantation workers. This so that our Coca-Cola is affordable to us. Wherever our large mining companies extract the value from foreign lands, we have a CIA and a military working to keep any leaders in power who will guarantee us a cheap labor supply and cheap mining products, at the expense of local people and their efforts toward democracy.

This is not who we want to be.

If you ask the common American to describe the America he or she wants us to be, you will hear this: "We are the country that represents freedom, opportunity and fairness. We use our strength to help people around the world. We oppose brutal regimes and work toward world health and justice and democratic participation of all people. The Statue of Liberty is our beacon to the world."

The common American wants the American government to be that -- to be that every day, in every corner of the world.

The common American would never answer: "America is this: We use our powerful military forces, intelligence forces, and our huge financial power to extract from weaker countries what we need for our own, affordable lifestyle in the US. We will support any brutal regime so long as they provide us with the cheap labor and materials we need, and so long as they keep any competing political systems out of the region. We will finance the massacre of peasants and workers, the torture of journalist and clerics, and the rape of nature and the sky itself so that we may live pleasantly today in America."

The common American feels ill at such words. And yet, that is the vision of America that many people in the world carry in their angry hearts. They see their miserable lives and their precious children and land being sacrificed for our luxury. They see our US-made helicopters and jets and guns and rockets suppressing and killing them. Naturally, they celebrate when we are made to suffer.

The disconnection between their perception and ours is profound: Our people are stunned at the idea that we are not universally loved.

In classrooms all over America this week and last, teachers and professors asked their students, "why do you suppose that some people around the world are so angry at us?" Many students no doubt suggested that differences in religion make some people intolerant and fanatically homicidal. What other reason could they have?

In a West Virginia college classroom last week, a friend of mine had something different to say.

"Look at it like this," he said to a classroom filled with honor students who couldn't imagine why America was under attack, except for reasons of religious extremism. "Imagine that West Virginia was a third world country," he said. "We have all this valuable coal, but there is one country, far away, that buys it all. They are the richest nation in the world, and they stay that way by getting our resources cheaply. They use their wealth to buy-off our government officials, and to kill or torture any worker here who tries to organize a union or clean up the government. How mad would we be toward that distant country, and just how innocent would we think its citizens are, who drive around in luxury cars and live in elegant homes and buy the best medicines for their children, and otherwise live a life in sparkling skyscrapers -- a life made affordable by the way they get resources from us? They admire their own democracy, turning a blind eye to what their government and their corporations do abroad."

The classroom was silent. "Well," he said, "that's pretty much what we do all over the world.".

Someone at the back of the room said, "Well, we may not be perfect, but this attack didn't come from Central America or Africa or Southeast Asia, it came from wealthy people from the Mideast, for religious reasons. "

The class soon remembered that the US had supported the brutal regime of the Shah of Iran so to better protect the supply of oil to the US, and that the brutality of the Shah led to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the camp of violent Islamic fundamentalists, of which Bin Laden was a product. The class was silent again. Then they began to discuss our problem, and they were in a position to come up with real answers.

So must all Americans see America as the world see us, so that we can strive for justice and the peace that comes with justice.

The politics that killed six thousand people in New York last week is the politics of Mideast oil, the politics of the Shah of Iran and our support for him and his torture police -- supported so that we might secure cheap oil and an anti-Communist puppet at any price to the local people and at any price to their democracy. The Shah did not deliver peace or safety, but instead he delivered into the world the Ayatollah Khomeini and the present wave of violent Islamic fundamentalists -- who are no more Islamic in their practices than America's radical right are Christian in their practices. Both radical fringes are beating the war drums and accusing everyone who is not exactly like them of causing last week's horror. George Bush, has declared war on evil. That is a holy war as chilling as the Taliban's call for war on evil.

This is not a time for all good Americans to forget their political differences and rally behind the man in the White House. The man in the White House should apologize for the most serious breach of internal security in the nation's history, not disguise his failure in calls for war. Can he hope that the fiery explosions in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania will be more acceptable to us if they are placed in a larger context of explosions of our own making? I do not rally around that idea. It is "wag the dog" taken to an extreme level, for he is not covering up his failure with a fake war, but with a real one.

He has taken every opportunity to make the world less safe, first in North Korea and then in the Mideast and in Russia and in China. He needs a dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is getting it. We must not go along with him.

The international community may soon have to rescue the Afghan people from the Taliban just as we had to rescue Europe from the Nazis, and rebuild it and let it find its way to self-government, but that is not the same issue and that will not resolve international terrorism at its roots. It is a diversion of our attention from Bush's catastrophic failure at home and abroad.

Sixty years and eight months ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his "four freedoms" State of the Nation speech to Congress as he prepared the nation for war. In it, he laid down the sensible and humane preconditions for future world peace and democracy.

If Mr. Bush insists on preparing us for his war against evil, let him learn from that great speech.

Let me read you the final paragraphs:

"In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world."

Now Mr. Bush, do not tell us that we must prepare to lose our free speech rights and our rights to privacy, so that you and your corporate-military complex can continue to abuse the world safely. Do not take away our first freedom. You have installed your closest political associate as the head of FEMA, which has its own prison camps set up across America for any coming disturbances. We are indeed disturbed.

And now it seems we are to have an internal secret police, headed not by a law enforcement man but by Tom Ridge, and it is to be a cabinet-level position. This puts it far above the FBI, our non-political, professional internal security police, which has been discredited in an intensive campaign this year.

"The second," FDR continued, "is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world."

Do not, Mr. Bush, let your vision of good and evil and your friends on the religious right overpower the religion of mainstream America, which is the religion of peace and justice. Do not take away our second freedom.

"The third," said FDR, "is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world. Unquote.

We cannot live peacefully if we do not work every day for the people, not the despots, of the world -- for justice, not for banking arrangements and trade agreements to fatten our already fat banks and corporations. Do not deprive the third world of this third freedom, for none of us are free if some of us are yet enslaved.

"The fourth is freedom," said FDR, "from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world."

Let the US stop selling the weapons of death throughout the world. We have fallen far, far away from the vision of a peaceful, unarmed world. We are now the principle source of arms and high-tech weapons for all the despots of the world. Mr. Bush, you can only give us freedom from fear if the people of the world are free of fear. This the common American knows in his heart.

I remember Roosevelt's speech well. My husband and I no doubt discussed it at the dinner table. We had already been married eleven years at the time. I hope I speak for many common Americans who cannot see our flag without getting emotional with love for it. Our dream is that it should always represent the best that human beings can do on this earth. This is a time for us to rally around its best values and its highest dreams.

To the terrorists, here is my message: you are not martyrs, but cowards. Your selfish, ego-maniacal greed for a place in heaven cannot be purchased with the deaths of other people. Look across the Khyber Pass toward the land of Gandhi, who taught us that violence makes justice harder to come by, not easier. Today in America, the work of terrorists makes the work harder for those who want reform America's policies and practices. You do not want to change American policies, or you would be using your millions to bring your message to us in ways that we can understand and act upon. You want only your shortcut to heaven. We have the same great God, the same Allah, and he shakes his head in sad disbelief at your spiritual immaturity.

"The ultimate weakness of violence," Dr. King taught us, "is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it... Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.... adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Terrorism makes it hard for us to do the right thing, but do it we must.

Old "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, that great reformer, said that "war is the money-changer's opportunity, and the social reformer's doom." But we will not accept doom. We will keep going. It is a time for all of us to speak the truth with courage and hope. America is, despite all, still the best hope for the world. But we are a work in progress, and we all have some work to do right now. It is the work of peace, of frank education, of making our lives and our communities more sustainable and less dependent on the suffering of others, and of cleaning up a campaign finance system that has allowed our elected leaders to represent not our interests and values, but those of international corporations who are set on world domination and who have the resources to buy our government away from us if we will let them. We will not, so long as we live, and so long as our four freedoms are our guiding lights and inspiration.
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