For the past several days my thoughts have turned to the words of Lincoln, the impact they had on Doris Granny D Haddock and the road ahead. I've tried to come up with a catchy title, but it eludes me, so I'll simply summarize by captioning it:
Gettysburg, Granny D, and those who follow
Lincoln's remarks at Gettsyburg on November 19, 1863 are called by many to be one of the most loved and quoted speeches ever given. The brevity and eloquence of meaning are unequaled. Many of us learned those 270 words and could recite them by heart. Scholars have pondered and pontificated over them, analyzing from where the ideas and specific words came to Lincoln's mind as he prepared to deliver them, and more importantly, how they have inspired generation after generation since.
Before Doris Rollins was eight years old she had that speech memorized. At the cemetery in Laconia, where people had gathered on November 11, 1918, the first Armistice Day, an elderly man was attempting to recite the Gettysburg Address but was obviously struggling. Doris was thrust onto a dais to help him. He and she held hands while together they finished the words. She recalled later that what survived for her from that occasion was the thrill of participation, of standing up and she knew then what she wanted to do. Did she mean only becoming an actress, or did she mean honing those talents for speaking and dramatization to serve the common good?
You will find words from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in many of Granny D's speeches, including her remarks at the Lincoln Memorial on February 29, 2000, the last day of her 3,200 mile trek across America for campaign finance reforms..
Today there are many individuals and organizations, working separately or together, including all of you to whom I'm sending this, who are carrying on the work that those words imply must be done so that we again, and always will have, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Surely Lincoln must often have felt weary, as did Granny D, but they never stopped or gave up because they knew there was work yet to be done, and they could make a difference. Whether you engage in walking, performing, protesting, writing, running for public office, or a multitude of other actions and you have as your goal what is best for the common good, you will be succeeding, you too will be, in Granny D's words "Saving our dear Democracy".
Thank you for allowing me to vent these thoughts on each of you.
They are sent with a Granny D inspired hug.
To learn more about those still working to carry forward Granny D's message please visit the Coalition for Open Democracy.