What will you do for your 90th birthday? Do you know who Doris Haddock is? Somehow she missed getting on my radar screen as she captured national attention in America a decade ago. I just heard about her story on a recent radio broadcast and want to share a little bit about her. I encourage you to read her memoir to more fully appreciate her character.
Doris died in her 100th year, in March 2010, but not before running for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire at age 94 (34% of the votes as a last minute entry) and having a significant impact on federal legislation aimed at curbing the impact of lobbyists on elected federal representatives. At the age of 89, she decided to walk from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness on her belief for the need for comprehensive federal campaign funding reform. She started her walk with no support team, little fanfare, and only her social security. But her passion, conviction, intelligence, and charm caught the attention of journalists, thousands of everyday folks and eventually all of Congress. Granny D, the nickname bestowed upon her, became an expert at keeping the focus on her cause. Bronchitis, emphysema, and arthritis plagued her journey, not to mention the other aches and pains one would expect on a 3,200-mile hike. Averaging 10 miles per day, she battled the challenging terrain and all vagaries of weather, including a twister in Texas that almost carried her right off the road.
Ironically, she worked in a New Hampshire shoe factory for 20 years, Granny D wore out four pairs of sneakers as a tribute to her tenacity in getting to the finish line. She even cross country skied part of the way when a snow storm threatened to delay her getting to Capital Hill. Ms. Haddock was widely acclaimed as having influence on the passage of the bipartisan 2002 McCain/Feingold Act aimed at addressing the very issue of her valiant trek. Even when the Supreme Court struck down sections of the bill just before her death, Doris was upbeat in her belief that the cause would be taken up again; even more effectively the next time around. But the neatest thing about her was that she was just a citizen… not super human, just an old woman who could be excused for taking the couch rather than the open road!
This blog is not about the complexities and merits of campaign funding. Other pundits are much more capable at facilitating that debate. This is about self accountably and abundance, and Doris would say it is about respect for the constitution. Doris underscored that it is never too late to take that first step. Before you know it 3000 miles are behind you, and in Doris’ words, you will have “raised a little hell.”
- Do it now. Take the first step, and then take one step at a time.
- You have enough to start. You have what you need. You lack nothing but the mindset and conviction.
- Just enjoy the journey and what you will learn about yourself and others along the way!
In honor of her tireless dedication and self accountability Granny D is the newest member in my Character Hall of Fame.
It’s never too late (to raise a little hell) in the Triangle,