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In The Spirit Of Granny D

A couple of weeks ago, on 10/13/14, the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice was closed on Indigenous Peoples’ Day (aka Columbus Day). Yet at 8 AM on that chilly morning, instead of an empty lot and a quiet building, there was an exuberant crowd readying to accompany Sally-Alice Thompson on her Walk to Get the MOP.

Get the MOP!
Photo by Dinah Vargas (c) BurqueMedia Used by permission

Some lady walking to get a mop.
No big deal, right?
Wait… she already has a floor mop.
And why is there money pinned to it?

Sally-Alice walked
from Albuquerque to Santa Fe
in the spirit of Granny D
to get a different mop:
To Get The Money Out of Politics.

From The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, where the Peace Hall is properly titled the Sally-Alice and Don Thompson Peace Hall, a boisterous crowd went down Central to the Albuquerque Convention Center occasionally chanting “Government corruption has got to stop! Get the MOP! Get the MOP!”. There we had a hearty breakfast courtesy of Sally-Alice and a few local restaurants.

From October 13th through October 25th, Sally-Alice continued up the entire length of North 4th Street, along the entire length of El Camino del Pueblo (NM-313), skipped over to Madrid and walked the rest of NM-14 into Santa Fe to get to The Roundhouse – The NM State Capitol.

Walking about 55 miles in eleven days climbing from 5000 to 7000 feet altitude.
And she turned 91 on the way.

Granny D walked 3,300 miles from the 1999 Rose Bowl all the way across the United States arriving at the US Capitol in early 2000 to call for campaign finance reform. Granny D turned 90 on the way. Granny D was joined for the last few miles by several members of the US Congress and met by John McCain on the steps of the US Capitol. The McCain-Finegold campaign finance reform bill passed soon after.

Down the Twisty Road

Down the Twisty Road.
Photo by Jeanne Pahls

Unfortunately, democracy has continued to unravel continuing the slide begun by the Powell Doctrine in the 70’s. This century, evasion of McCain-Finegold led to Super PACs and more money in politics became a flood after Supreme Court decisions in CU FEC, McCutcheon v. FEC and Hobby Lobby versus US.

As the signs say:
Democracy Is Not For Sale
[If its for sale it’s not democracy], and
We are going down a twisty road.

Here’s a sketch of the journey:

Day 1 & Day 2
Up North 4th through
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
to Sandia Pueblo

Days 3, 4 & 5
The length of NM-313 through
Sandia Pueblo, Bernalillo,
Santa Ana Pueblo, Algodones
to San Felipe Pueblo.

Not wishing to walk on I-25
Sally-Alice took a giant step
from the Rio Grande Valley
into the Ortiz mountains.

Day 6
Downhill from Madrid to Cerrillos.
(picture is from early Day 6)

Days 7, 8 & 9: Up from Cerrillos past the Garden of the Gods and up and down through San Marcos and past … well past a lot of junipers and then past the backside of the State Pen.

Day 10: Across I-25 and into Santa Fe on Cerrillos close to Agua Fria
Day 11: Past the Santa Fe Indian School into central Santa Fe
Day 12: Rest day! Less than two miles from the goal!
Day 13: To the Roundhouse at Noon!

—–

Granny D is not the sole inspiration for Sally-Alice’s walk. Rhana Bazzini is currently walking from south of Tampa north to Tallahassee. When Rhana Bazzini called for other women 80+ years old to walk to their state capitols ‘in the footsteps of Granny D’ earlier this year, Sally-Alice took it on. You can follow Granny B on the site ingrannydfootsteps.org where she makes a daily blog post. The latest is Day 13: Mermaids Along The Trail.

—–

There has been only one local major news outlet that covered the story of the Walk to Get the MOP. KOB TV-4 came out the first day and interviewed Sally-Alice. It seemed to go well until we realized that they had essentially teabagged her: They painted it as a walk against government spending instead of a walk against money in politics. They did correct it online.

Otherwise, zero TV and no major paper coverage. This is absolutely unsurprising because the only way these media corporations want to see the money come out of politics is when it comes out of the campaigns into their revenue streams.

Thanks and praise to the indy media and the local weeklies who did provide the story to their readers.

Here is a facet of a gem called One More Mile at BurqueMedia.com

I was curious whether Sally-Alice thought that government at any level was equal to the task of holding itself accountable, if it’s even possible to hope that it could at this point? “If it’s not,” she said, “then our democracy is gone—then we have gone the way of the Ancient Greeks, who gave their democracy away. We’re facing a fork in the road. We have to decide. I know what I want, but it’s up to the people. Will they accept bread and circuses and continue to give up their liberty? I hope not.”

She pounced on my next question, concerning the relationship between irrationality and corruption? Did she see one? “Very much so. The powers behind the curtain, for example the Koch brothers, want to keep things irrational. They’re funding irrationality, the Tea Party, for instance. That maintains their power. When rationality re-enters the picture, the power of the people comes back!”

Frances Madeson walked the whole route Thursday and interviewed Sally-Alice much of that time and will give you a much better sense of Sally-Alice than I have here. .

The Santa Fe Reporter also had an online article that dug into the issue of money in New Mexico politics as a background to bring up Sally-Alice and her walk.

Sally-Alice made the front page of The Independent on October 22d opposite Governor Martinez.
Front page (Leota Harriman on Facebook)
And the jump (again from the Editor’s FB )

And fom the Independent it made the Community News Exchange an aggregation and sharing service for over a dozen small-town papers in New Mexico.

—–

One of Sally-Alice’s basic messages throughout the Walk has been to get out and vote. I know that participation in democracy was a consistent theme in her talks to students at the schools that invited her in along the way.

Sally-Alice and Don Thompson were both World War II veterans and Albuquerque residents since Don mustered out after the Korean War. As the remaining eponymous member of the local Veterans For Peace chapter, Sally-Alice has spent many a Saturday over the past decade at Tulane and Central protesting the perpetual US war footing in the Middle East and everywhere else.

Tuesday 10/29 we went to the Bernalillo Public Library to show the movie Pay2Play. This event had next-to-no publicity so there was but one viewer who had just moved here from Florida and was quite interested. The library is building a veterans display and will include Sally-Alice’s picture in it. While leaving the Bernalillo Library I asked her: What was the one thing that she would like to say about her trip? and her immediate reply was “This country is becoming what we thought we fought against in World War II”.

On Thursday 10/30, she will join the Peace Center community for a one mile walk to express solidarity with the Islamic Center of New Mexico which was recently scorched by a Molotov cocktail in the latest of several incidents there. That is, if she can make it back from the charter elementary school that she will visit near Santa Fe in the afternoon.

On Saturday 11/1, Sally-Alice will speak at the Albuquerque March Against Corruption (San Mateo & Montgomery) and then have a discussion after a showing of Pay2Play at a local coffeehouse.

On Sunday 11/2, she will speak at a Special Event at The Guild after yet another showing of Pay2Play.

And she is 91.

EDIT: Many more pictures at Facebook community Sally-Alice Thompson’s Walk to Santa Fe to Get the MOP.

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