Granny Did Not Get Run Over by a Tank

Posted: Apr 06, 2008 12:01 AM
Granny Did Not Get Run Over by a Tank

When I saw the banner held by the ten “brave” grannies arrested for protesting the Iraq War in front of an Atlanta Army recruiting station on March 17, and the same tag in the YouTube video by an aspiring filmmaker, I thought they didn’t want us to send them their grandchildren.

What else can you make of “Send Us Not Our Grandchildren”? That “we’re too busy for them with our protesting, and fulfilling our potentials? Send us puppies instead?”

It was only after I read the blurb accompanying the video for the Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace protest that I got it. Oh! “Send us, not our grandchildren.”

The grannies, you see, wanted to sign up for the army. As I tell my students: That’s the power of punctuation.

You can watch the harrowing experience here where you’ll see ten grannies chanting from a balcony and then politely asked to leave by a couple of police officers, or else they’ll have to take further action.

In a supreme act of bravery they stand their ground and state they will not leave.

Then comes the footage of the grannies’ ordeal. As the doors to the paddy wagon are opened for them, they are asked to hand over their bottled water!

What kind of a democracy is this when one cannot even take her bottled water or the snacks in her purse with her to jail?

Well, that’s about it, except towards the end the mug shots are flashed as if they were of those “disappeared” by some South American regime. These grannies were released in time for dinner—and grocery shopping and a stop at the beauty parlor if they wanted. Their imprisonment lasted two hours.

This video is boring, except to those who have the time to seek validation for all their own acts of “bravery,” such as “speaking to power” in the form of a paper on the hegemony of Western grammar; It’s guaranteed to earn you tenure from your like-minded colleagues or at least an A from 95% of the professors in humanities departments.

Well, this is a great way to spend a weekday morning if you’re retired and want the recognition you’ve never received before. You can continue the adolescent rebellion from your teen years in the 1960s when you knew nothing much would happen to you if you skipped the college classes your parents or the government were paying for. Or if you missed out on that opportunity, this cause is your chance. And you can help an aspiring Michael Moore documentary maker in the process!

This is the chance to do what Henry David Thoreau did by his act of “civil disobedience,” which gave him a night in the jail and a good meal. Many a freshman has been inspired by reading his essay on civil disobedience, especially under the tutelage of a radical professor who forgets to mention that only under a civil government is civil disobedience possible. The tank drivers in Tiananmen Square apparently had never heard of the concept.

I think these grannies were taught the same things about civil disobedience during their “teach-ins” on campus. I suppose they’re under the delusion that they’re “making a difference” by being arrested. I would suggest that it’s a case of “arrested development.”

Among the grannies’ chants were such originals as “End this war” and “Save the children.” They would do the world more good by learning punctuation and home schooling their grandchildren, who need to get out of the indoctrination centers called public schools that overlook basic skills in favor of teaching “social justice.”