It was a simply gorgeous day Saturday, and official estimates put attendance at Fighting Bob Fest somewhere between 6,500 and 7,500. Bob Fest organizers must not pay much attention to tea party rallies, because if they did they surely would have claimed that at least 50,000 people were there.
All I know is the crowd was in the many thousands with countless others sending word they were unable to attend due to one conflict or another but were there in spirit. One who was absent but whose presence was most certainly felt was Doris "Granny D" Haddock, the cross-country-walking, straight-talking campaign finance reform advocate who passed away earlier this year at the age of 100.
Ruth Meyer, a loyal friend and longtime assistant of Granny's, made the long trip from New Hampshire with members of her family to be there in her mentor's place. Ruth brought along with her a draft of a speech Doris was working on last February shortly before her death, and shared it with me. It was to have been delivered at Fighting Bob Fest.
Granny D's thoughts filled seven single-spaced pages, but these words in particular stood out: "America is angry and divided and rather like a mentally-disturbed person. Many of its citizens are turning away from obvious truths and embracing angry and dangerous fantasies instead.... It's hard to settle arguments and put away anger when we are desperately anxious about our future and our family's future. That sort of anxiety is driving America's politics today. And where does it come from? Anger and blindness to the facts are the twin childen of powerlessness. Powerlessness over one's own and one's family's future."