Molly Ivins has just died of breast cancer. Besides being wonderfully smart and witty, she was courageous, speaking truth to power with amazing clarity. She realized that, sometimes, the best thing you can do to a bad idea is to laugh at it, exposing the inherent ridiculousness of it. It was through reading her columns my freshman year of college that I was first able to realize that my increasing political radicalization fit exactly with the values of compassion, fairness, and equality that I'd always been taught.
She was a true Texan, and took as much delight in covering national stories as local ones. Her bold, Texas style reminds me of Ann Richards, and that's fitting because they were friends. I can imagine all the editorial cartoons in coming days, with Molly meeting Gov. Richards (who died a few months ago as well) in heaven. What will they say to one another?
She's the one who coined the nickname "Shrub" for G.W. Bush. I think I'll go out tonight and bury a shrub in her honor. I'm glad that she got to see the November elections.
We'll miss you, Molly. Lets just hope that we are able to fill your place, to call it like we see it, to point out the absurdity of things and to fight for the people who are left out of the system. You, in so many ways, are truly my hero. Thanks.
Here are a few of her priceless quotes. If you would like to read more of her work, check this out.
from her last column, January 11, 2007: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there."
"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
"I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point -- race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything."
“Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”
"The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging."
"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."
"The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion."
"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."
"When future historians come to write the political story of our times, they will first have to review hundreds of hours of a cable television program called The Daily Show. You simply can't understand American politics in the new millennium without The Daily Show."
"Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."
"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."
On Camille Paglia: "There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'Poor dear, it's probably PMS.' Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'What an asshole.' Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole."
“Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”
"...Phil Gramm, the senator from Enron..."