Monday, December 03, 2007

Granny D

From her work on public campaign financing of elections, to her book "Walking Across America in My Ninetieth Year", to her recent documentary that premiered
on HBO "Run Granny Run", Doris "Granny D" Haddock embodies precisely what
it means to be a patriot and a wise elder. Her life is well worth reading up on, and
her speeches are priceless. This is one that she recently gave at Wartburg College
in Iowa, and while not as humorous as others she's given, I hope you find it worthwhile. Hey, you're used to longwinded on this blog ANyhoosle, right?! (ed note: yea right, I'm not longwinded, I'm to transcript here)
"Thank you.

It's wonderful to be here today at Wartburg, which I have long admired as one of
America's great liberal arts colleges.

I would like to underline that word "liberal" in the context of liberal arts.
It does not, of course, refer to big government, or to left-of-center politics.
No, as I'm sure you know, it refers to the art of thinking freely-training the
mind to think for itself, free of the lies and fantasies and prejudices that
wrap around us from an early age.

In this time, the very idea of human life on the planet is at stake. War and
violence have taken new and decidedly more dangerous turns.

So you are doing well to be freeing your minds right now. That is a difficult
task, as there are so many forces around you, telling you what and how to think,
and selling you incredible lies.

The War on Terrorism is a good example. It is a term used to keep you from
thinking freely and from actually solving the world's problems relating to
poverty and freedom. If you solved those problems you would severely damage the
profits of the elite.

The very idea that you can have war on terror is as silly as the idea that you
can have war on anger. War itself is insane anger.

As the world's resources become stressed by global warming and overpopulation,
do we really think we can kill all the angry people? Can we calm them down by
dropping bombs on their villages and spraying their families with machine gun
bullets? Isn't that rather like dropping gasoline and crumpled newspaper on
forest fires instead of water? Do you think anyone really thinks it will work?
They don't even want it to work. War is too profitable. It is profitable for
those who finance the careers of our politicians.

Islamo-fascism, as a label, is yet another fraud used to keep you from thinking
freely. Some people in the world are so desperate and angry that they will blow
themselves up just to hurt us, that is true. But it has to do with the
conditions of their lives, not with religion. Religion is always the excuse for
murder, but rarely the motive. If I tell you that God wants us all to clean up
the dining rooms tonight, to scrub every seat and scrape-off every blob of gum,
you will thank me for my opinion and you will back out of the room en masse.
If, however, I tell you that God wants us all to storm the administration
building tonight and change our grades to straight A's, then how many of you
will answer God's call? In war, religion is a cover and an organizing
convenience. That's all it has ever been, going back to the Crusades, which were
all about treasure and rape.

The "War on Terrorism" has very little to do with anyone's religious beliefs.
Terrorism, historically, is a term used to describe what governments do to rule
through fear-to overrule the rule of law. The term originated after the French
Revolution as a tool for suppressing dissent. If we are to truly prosecute a
War on Terrorism, it would inclue preventing governments from using fear to
shred the democratic rule of law.

If you want to stop insane anger in the world, you have to get at world poverty
and the injustices that people suffer as nations ruthlessly jockey for

"We don't negotiate with terrorists." Anytime you hear tough language like
that, you will do well to assume it means the opposite. If we actually don't
negotiate with terrorists, you would have heard the President make a speech
proclaiming that: "Nothing our enemies do will persuade us in the least to give
up on our principles. We will hold fast to our Bill of Rights and to the
cherished Geneva Convention. All suspects will be afforded a lawyer and a trial
and humane treatment, no matter what. We will not run like cowards away from the
Constitution and the human values that our people have fought and died to
protect and improve. We will not give any of that up to the terrorists in
exchange for some hope of extra safety. We will not negotiate."

THAT would be refusing to negotiate with terrorists. But that is not what this
government has done. In terms of giving up on things of value, this government
has knelt down and emptied its pockets after the first punch. It was profitable
for some people for this to happen.

Not only has our so-called government given away our basic human rights-turned
them over to the terrorists in exchange for worthless hopes of safety-but they
have subjected you and me to endless little indignities unbecoming American

Why do they harass you at the airports, refusing to let you stop your car for a
moment at the curb to pick-up your friends? Do they think that, by harassing
you in this way, that they are in any way preventing a truck from driving up and
exploding? They of course know better. It is not about that. it is about keeping
you fearful, and reminding us that We the People no longer have the power. Speak
up at the airport and you will be whisked away. What a wonderful place an
airport is to teach us all about the new country we are living in.

So you take off your shoes because one madman had an exploding shoe some years
ago. I'm not sure which is worse: one possible tragedy like that, or the smell
of a hundred million feet thereafter. The point of this airport ceremony is to
physically humiliate you into subservience to the new state. Get used to it,
because it is just getting started--if you will let it.

Any politician you hear talking seriously about the War on Terror or about
Islamo-Fascism is lying to you and trying to prevent you from thinking freely.
Call them on it. Tell them you think those terms are really just a lot of BS
meant to deflect attention from the real issues of world poverty, the
unsustainable exploitation of resources and other issues that we, in fact, could
address seriously with a fraction of what we spend on counterproductive
warfare-though we understand it is highly profitable for some.

If you are a psych major or have taken some psych courses, you understand that
we often transfer to others the things we fear most within ourselves. When some
leaders label others with words like terrorist, let them look first to what they
are themselves doing in the world. Are they upholding the human rights encoded
in the U.S. Constitution, and in the Geneva Convention, and in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights? If they are not, then they have forfeited their
right to label other people in any disparaging way. Do they understand that 90%
of the people who die in war are civilians, and that any pre-emptive, meaning
non-provoked war, is by definition an act of terrorism?

In the term "Islamo-fascist, let's look a little closer. The term "fascist" was
popularized by Mussolini to describe how corporate interests could be combined
with an authoritarian government. If some American leader has assumed
dictatorial powers by claiming the ability to disregard laws, and if he has
given no-bid contracts with billions of dollars to friendly corporations that he
has an actual family interest in, then he may indeed want to transfer the word
Fascist as far away from himself as possible, but we see through this with our
free minds. The historical shoe fits.

The fact of our condition is that we have two governments. We have a faceless
government that has secret prisons, its own rules, a suspension of all our
rights, and its own armies and budgets. It laughs at us when we think we can
tell it what to do. It has been around for some time -certainly since the early
60s when we started losing the leaders who actually represented our values.

We do have another government. It is the one where we have debates, campaigns,
elections (more or less), and where the winners play at a Congress. This
government has fallen in power as the other has risen. I have lived long enough
to see the dimming of lights in the Capitol building. These people no longer
much represent you and me. The mainstream news keeps us from seeing the truth
of this. We are expected to be happy with our wonderful cars and your wonderful
music players and our fancy phones that can message back and forth. But we have
been left without anything of our own to say that is not a rewrite of a

If you are not hearing the truth from the mainstream media, it is because there
is a game here, and one of the main rules of the game is that you have to
pretend we are still a government of, by and for its people. If you cannot live
in that fantasy, you will be ostracized as a nut case, a fanatic, a fringe
element. That is part of the control mechanism that you have to understand if
you would be free to think for yourself.

If, to create an absurd example, the family of George Bush were investors
together in oil partnerships with the Bin Laden family, or if George Bush Senior
were a part of a company like the Carlyle Group that has profited greatly from
the Iraq War, would those stories be all over CNN and in the front pages of
newspapers, or would those stories violate the fantasy and therefore be ignored?
Well, those stories happen to be true, so judge for yourself if we have a
problem with the news media.

How, indeed, do we bring order into the chaos of our lives once we reject the
lies around us? What is the thing that is not a lie? Where is a fixed star by
which we can navigate our lives through the ever-warming waters ahead?
Somewhere, perhaps less than a mile from here, there is someone who didn't come
to this lecture. This person took time out of his or her day to go tutor a kid
or help an older person-maybe to help someone learn a needed language. There is
the star. That person out there has more to tell you than I do, for Love is the
only truth that can save us from lies and from anger and sad living. The real
division of politics in the world is between truth and love on one hand, which
call for the happy development of every human's highest potential, and the
politics of fear and hate on the other hand, which are known by exploitation and

You know which kind of politics is at the helm today. Maybe an election or two
can make some improvements. But, even so, we still have this little problem
with the other government, the one that thinks it is really in charge of our
lives and our world--the one the world knows very well. When the storm
destroyed New Orleans, the wealthy neighborhoods suddenly had armed Blackwater
guards at their gates. These machine-gun toting men were from other nations and
had no familiarity with our Bill of Rights. They would have followed any order.
In that storm, we saw the future, if we will allow it.

Race is more important in organizing political differences than economic class.
So now we see a rise in racial conflict in America, even in places where we
wouldn't have imagined it a few years ago. The uneasy peace between the races in
America made possible by the post World War II boom is now moving into difficult
times. It is aggravated by the immigration issue. Can you see these issues
freely? You read the newspapers and the internet news sites, and you watch the
Daily Show, so you know just about everything. Or do you? The U.S. Farm
program, voted for by our elected representatives, subsidizes the corn industry
so heavily that American corporations sell corn in Mexico for half of what
Mexico's family farmers can sell it for. So half the farms in Mexico have gone
out of business. Farm families have migrated to Mexico's big cities, where
there is so much poverty that all one can do is plan to sneak into America for
decent wages. They die on our desert borders. If it were easy to come and go,
how could we oppress them so easily? We have come to rely upon this oppression
for the smooth operation of our communities. But you will not hear about this
story on the TV news, will you? It is outside the accepted fantasy.

The lies that surround us drive emotions and they drive unkindness and cruelty,
which are the signposts of misinformation and misunderstanding. People who are
not free of mind are not kindly of mind. Kindness is freedom's truest
indicator. If you cannot stop to help someone who clearly needs your help, you
are not a free man or woman. Your chains may have the glamorous attachments of
Blackberries and credit cards, but you are not free if your time is not your own
to follow your heart.

If you are looking for a strategy to improve relations between the races,
between straight and gay people, between religions, you must understand that
such peace is most achievable when there is sufficient truth and prosperity to
go around, and when there is the kindness that is the product of those two.

To preserve prosperity in the world, agriculture and nature must be saved. The
coal plants must be shut down--all of them--within the next few years.
Gasoline-powered automobiles must be phased-out in the next ten years.
International trade must be largely curtailed in favor of local production.
These are the issues of a politics of love, and they cannot go forward without
some free thinking and some knocking-down of immense lies now in place.

Free thinking, prosperity and kindness, so intertwined, make cooperative living
easier to achieve, and push intolerance away. We have a lot of work to do, but,
can you see it? Do you have a glimpse of it?

Can you stand the idea of Google-ing a little more Noam Chomsky and a little
less USA Today? That would be a good beginning.

Churchill was correct when he said the empires of the future are the empires of
the mind. The big battle for the future is being fought right now in your mind.
Your freedoms are closing-in around you.

Our present circumstances seem to necessitate a new and democratic international
compact between those of you who are willing to do what is necessary to be free
people living sustainably, and to withdraw our support from systems outside the
compact. The compact can be first between individuals, and then communities. It
can later include regions and nations. How will this be brought forth? Will it
be enough? I don't know, but it's all we can do. Certainly the Internet, for
as long as we can keep it, can get us started. But don't rely on it entirely,
for it is no longer ours to trust.

You have the power to save your freedoms and your natural world. Truth and
Love, Courage and Energy, and a good organizing plan for cooperative action are
your great powers. Don't look for leaders to do it for you, unless you are
standing before a mirror.

I'm 97, soon 98, so saying "good luck" is about all I have left. I have filled
my life with adventures and good causes. They have not been enough for the
world, and they have not even been enough for me. But I shudder to think of how
bare my life would have been had I not answered the call to action that you must
now be feeling somewhere in your hearts, as you have it felt before.

Thank you all very much. And good luck."