Saturday, April 07, 2007

2007 in your memoir

2007 in your memoir, 7 Paths #99, January 4, 2007

As we begin 2007 I think about Doris Haddock, otherwise known as Granny D, who on January 1, 1999, at the age of 89, starting in Pasadena, California, began a walk across America in support of campaign finance reform.

On February 29, 2001 and 3200 miles later she walked into Washington, DC. Actually she skied the last 100 miles along the towpath of the C & O Canal in Maryland. In Washington, DC she was joined by 2200 reformers including several congressmen as she walked to the Capitol to press her case for campaign finance reform.

A year later the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 also known as the McCain-Feingold Bill, was passed into law.

A couple years ago my daughter Hannah gave me a copy of the memoir that Doris wrote after her walk, Granny D: Walking across America in my 90th Year. I read it and was deeply moved.

The seed for a Doris’ journey was planted one evening in her hometown of Dublin, NH, when she was complaining to Bonnie, the leader of a study group that Doris belongs to, about how the rich were taking over and “you can’t get elected unless you have a million dollars.”

“Well, Doris, what are you going to do about?” Bonnie asked.

“Me? For heavens sake, what can I do?”

“Well, what can you do?”

She organized her friends over the next two years they collected tens of thousands of signatures on petitions for campaign finance reform and they sent them to the New Hampshire senators. One responded with a form letter calling unlimited campaign contributions a form of free speech and the other senator never even bothered to respond.

She felt like a woman scorned.

Rather than giving up she decided to walk across America in support of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. She walked and talked to all the reporters curious about a 90-year old woman walking across America.

At one point in her corporate career she was the second highest paid woman in New Hampshire. Yet, when she wrote her memoir after her walk, she never mentioned her career until near the end and then it was to say that she guessed that her career was not important compared to her public service on behalf of campaign finance reform.

In 2007, do something to make this a better world, something you will be proud to include in your memoir when you are in your 90s.

Wisdom for the week: Humble hierarchy leaders believe that powerlessness can be overcome by persistence.

Fare thee well, Rich

Note: In my last issue of the 7 Paths I invited folks to offer their own suggestions on how to spot dangerous leaders. Two responded. You can check out their thoughtful comments here.

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