A Beware of little old ladies wearing tennis shoes www.grannyd.com DATELINE D.C. Granny D at the Bawdy House BY JEFF MANDELL Washington, D.C. This was not the motorcade that denizens of Pennsylvania Avenue are used to seeing. Rather than a sleek column of black limousines and SUVs with police cruisers at the head and the foot, a beat-up van and a few cars deliberately inched along the right-hand lane of the boulevard toward the center of the city, the Capitol Rotunda. And instead of watchful Secret Ser vice officers strategically positioned to monitor gawking tourists, a motley string of marchers car rying signs chanted, cheered, and meandered toward the Capitol. All days are strange ones in D.C., but even by that standard this one was an anomaly. Though it was still February \(by leapcool, soft breeze, and just enough clouds to take the edge off the heat. The crowd continued down the street, drifting along behind the ninety-year-old great-grandmother of twelve. She had left her New Hampshire home more than a year earlier on a cross-country walk \(including brief Washington, in an effort to draw attention to campaign finance reform and even the cops were smiling. At least they had an excuse to be outside on the first springlike day of the year. The center of attention, Doris “Granny D” Haddock, shuffled along near the front of the crowd, with a slightly dazed smile, as more than a thousand people marched these final steps with her. The march had begun that morning at Arlington National Cemetery, crossed the Potomac and continued down K Street \(home to the high-dollar law firms and lobbyists who never have to sylvania Avenue. The media advisories had been a little vague about the exact location of Granny D’s Capitol arrival; Common Cause said the rally would be in a parking lot at the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds. But once there, neither I nor any of the dozen or so television cameras dispatched to record Granny D’s arrival had any trouble picking out where to go. A giant sign, stretched across the top of the main Senate stairs and reading “FOR $ALE,” was a resplendent beacon. One side of the stairs re 22 THE TEXAS OBSERVER mained clear for tourists, and the Capitol Police sent approximately one officer to protect each and every step of the tall stairway to the door. But three-quarters of the stairs were filled by banner-holding, noisemaking, sign-waving supporters of Granny D who formed the welcoming committee for the procession arriving down Pennsylvania Avenue. The procession quadrupled the size of the crowd and introduced some new elements: a man wearing a giant puppet contraption of an empty suit; a handful of drums, whistles, and assorted noisemakers. The Capitol Police quickly descended from the steps to usher the marchers out of the way. It seems that organizers had procured a permit for the steps but not for the paved area at the bottom of those steps. As a result, the entire rally had a subtext: the struggle between the police gently pushing people toward the grass beside the steps \(leaving the speakers staring out toward the television cameras and, behind them, an back to the front of the steps, behind the cameras and microphones, into the speakers’ fields of vision. There was nothing particularly remarkable about the speeches given by eight members of Congress \(although partly in homage, partly in photo-op avarice, each MARCH 31, 2000
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