A booster shot of optimism

Columnist Ellen Goodman visits with the Granny Peace Brigade. Slogans fly!


Katharine Mieszkowski
May 5, 2006 10:17PM (UTC)

I cannot read enough about the Granny Peace Brigade, so I was pleased to catch Ellen Goodman's column in today's Boston Globe about her visit with the antiwar activists. Goodman says she went to meet them for "a booster shot of optimism," and reading her column has the same effect.

As Broadsheet readers know, 18 self-described "grannies" in New York were recently acquitted of disorderly conduct charges that they incurred at a sit-in last October outside a military recruitment office. Goodman chats with four of the activists, and repeats some of their more amusing slogans: "Grandmas get offa your tush/ We've got to go after Bush," "Just forget your retirement pursuits/ And get out your old marching boots" and "Grandmas, let's unite/ While we are still upright."

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Why are these elderly women protesting when their children and grandchildren aren't? "They're busy. We're retired," Joan Wile, 74, a grandmother of five, tells Goodman. Molly Klopot, 87, adds: "We helped the world get in the shape it's in. We have some responsibility here." And do they really think that they can do anything to help stop the war? As Carol Husten, 74, puts it: "If you're not hopeful, you're helpless."

Goodman muses: "We are now in the run-up to Mother's Day, a holiday that evolved from Julia Ward Howe's antiwar crusade to Hallmark Cards' breakfast-in-bed day. The grannies are cooking up something that won't fit on a bed tray."

If you're inspired by the grannies to do something more political than take mom to brunch this Mother's Day, Code Pink has a few ideas for how you, your mother and your grandmother can celebrate.


Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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