The grannies are free! If you ever doubted that personal activism can be effective, inspirational – and fun! – check out the recent success in New York City of the Granny Peace Brigade.
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Last fall, these 18 ladies (ranging from 62 to 91 years old) descended on an Army recruiting station in Manhattan. They wanted to enlist and be sent to Iraq in the place of young people who otherwise would have to go. “Kill us, not them,” was their plea – a grandmotherly gesture to focus public attention on the deadly price of Bush’s war of lies.
When told to go away, they simply sat down – for which they were arrested, handcuffed, jailed, and charged with “disorderly conduct.” The prosecutor offered to dismiss the charges if the grannies agreed not to cause any “trouble” for six months.
No deal, shouted the 18, instead demanding their day in court. As one put it, “We are at a very important point in the history of our country. It is our responsibility as patriots not to be silent.”
In their six-day trial, prosecutors claimed the women had blocked access to the recruiters. But Judy Lear responded that if someone had approached, she would have moved over – “I’m a very polite person,” she noted. Well, sniffed prosecutors, you people weren’t really prepared to go to war – to which Diana Dreyfus retorted, “I was totally prepared. I had just recently gotten divorced. I was ready.”
When the judge finally dismissed all charges, the grannies gathered happily with their lawyer, who told them: “The decision today says the first Amendment protects you to protest peacefully. So – go do it.” The grannies cheered.
This is Jim Hightower saying… An old cliché declares that if you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, but if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain. Maybe so, but if you’re not a radical by 60, you’re really not living at all.
“With ‘Grannies’ in Dock, a Sitting Judge is Bound to Squirm,” The New York Times, April 27, 2006.
“What Did You Do in the War, Grandma?” The New York Times, April 21, 2006.
“New York Judge Tells Grannies to go in Peace,” The New York Times, April 18, 2006.