Run Granny Run
by Shannon Huebscher
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Whenever the concept of a hero used to cross my mind, the image of a veteran, or a fire fighter, or even a fictionalized character like Superman would immediately pop into my head. And not to say that these figures are no longer brave or valiant nor worthy of their heroic imagery, but rather that someone else has come to the forefront: a 97-year-old woman named Doris Haddock, also known as Granny D.
Profiled in the film Run Granny Run, Granny D was a last minute replacement in the Democratic Senatorial seat in New Hampshire in 2004, and yes, she was running for the U.S. Senate at the age of 94. But this wasn’t her first foray into the public eye. Back in 1999, she walked across the United States, from Pasadena, California to Washington D.C., to raise awareness about campaign finance reform. She started her journey on January 1st, 1999 and completed it on February 29th, 2000. I don’t know of many, if not any 20 year olds that can do that!
Granny D dispels any negative myth we may have about old age. She can move around on her own and in fact, walked around the entire state of New Hampshire during her campaign to prove her tenacity, and her mind is as bright and as sharp as it probably ever was. But there is one hilarious scene that takes place the morning she is set to leave for her debate against her Republican opponent—just as they leave her home, Granny D realizes that she forgot her dentures inside and they have to turn around to go get them. This was the only moment in the film you remember how old she really is!
Although in the film she doesn’t give any direct advice about how she’s stayed so vibrant in her older years, it’s clear that she is motivated by causes and issues that are important to her, and fighting for them are what keeps her going. She also manages to stay current, as portrayed by her thoughts about gay marriage: “I’m for love. I don’t think the government belongs in my bedroom. I don’t want them there. Not that anything is happening, these days.”
Run Granny Run doesn’t try to glorify Granny D, but rather chronicle her run for office with as much integrity as her campaign stood for. She ran on the platform of taking no special interest or corporately funded finances, and thus ran with very little to no money. And yet she was able to get 34% of the vote!
This film is a must-see this year, and is even more salient with the upcoming 2008 elections. In fact, all of the current presidential candidates should watch this film—maybe it will help remind them not only who they have to live up to, but that it is possible to be a politician and still be sincere.
Her heroism may not be as blatant as some others, as hers is subtle and modest—she stood up strong against those who didn’t believe her age was an asset, and she answered proudly when her country was calling her name. Granny D may not have won the election, but she will absolutely win the hearts (and minds) of all of the viewers.
Shannon Huebscher is a writer living in The Midwest.
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