Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins Can't Be Dead, Can She?

Molly Ivins has died. Please give me a day or two to take this all in. I can't even think right now.


It is now three o'clock in the morning which means that I have had about seven hours to adjust to a world without Molly Ivins. I woke up after only a few hours of troubled sleep, thinking that it was all just a bad dream - and then reality set in. She's gone and she's not coming back. Who among us would have dreamed that our luck would ever get this bad?

There can be no debate. She was the most articulate progressive voice of the last one-hundred years. The rarest of all creatures (a goddamned liberal from Texas, Bubba!) She was a flower among the weeds. She spoke truth to power "with the bark off" as John Nance Garner, a Texan from another era, would have said. She was a national treasure. She was our Molly.

She was to our generation what Will Rogers was to his - and so much more. Rogers, for all of his fun-poking at the powers-that-be, was, in his time, a much beloved and admired figure. Before the plane crash which ended his life in August 1935, he had been lauded by all ends of the political spectrum. Not Molly Ivins! She was hated - deeply and passionately hated - by the forces of darkness. Trust me on this one, boys and girls: the only tears that will be shed tonight at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, will be tears of joy. No one - and I mean, no one - has been more on-target in exposing the lies, corruption, and utter stupidity of Washington politicians in general and this hideous administration in particular than Miss Molly. It has been said that Will Rogers never offended a soul. Molly Ivins, in contrast, offended just about everyone in power - Democratic or Republican.

When George W. Bush first announced his candidacy in 1999, it made me a tad uneasy. It was only after reading, "Shrub: The Short, Happy Political life of George W. Bush" which she co-authored with fellow Texas journalist, Lou Dubose - published over one year before the stolen election of 2000 - that I became seriously alarmed. Molly Ivins was the person who woke me up. This very blog you are reading is really her legacy. In 2003, when they wrote a follow-up called, "Bushwhacked: Life In George W. Bush's America", she said in the book's introduction, "If y'all had read the first book, we wouldn't have had to write this one!"

Oh, Lord, was she funny! As much as I loved to read her work, listening to the audio book versions was even more fun! She would read each of them with the timing and skill of a professional comedian. She once said of a corrupt and incompetent Texas politician, "If his IQ slips any lower, we'll have to water him twice a day." On one occasion she "defended" a former First Lady by saying, "It's unfair to pick on Nancy Reagan - it's irresistible but unfair." In 1980, she was fired from the New York Times for referring to an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico as "a gang pluck." Now admit it: wouldn't you just love to have that on your resume'? Damn! The old gal was a scream!

She was the first journalist to stand up and expose to the world the unvarnished truth about this incompetent and disgusting president. From her second to last column, published on January 7th:

"What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn't supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?"

And now, like Will Rogers, she's left us at the far too young age of sixty-two. The late, great newspaper, the Dallas Times Herald, once ran an advertising campaign which proclaimed, "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" She could and she did - loudly and with great courage. The only way to close this piece would be to paraphrase the writer, John O'Hara, on learning of the death of George Gershwin seventy years ago:

Molly Ivins died on January 31, 2007. But I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Pray for peace.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

This is from Molly's last column, 14 January 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 stop this war. Raise hell! Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know that we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to oppose Bush's proposed surge...We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'STOP IT NOW!'"

Molly Ivins
Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?
Who Let The Dogs In?
by Molly Ivins

For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan

Molly Ivins would have approved I think.


At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there was a memorial fund set up for Miss Ivins yesterday--her friends knew she was going.
I always enjoyed her writing. She had the guts to say what needed to be said.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Just got the news of Molly's passing. I loved her column, she could poke fun at Shrub like nobody else.
Tho her feet were not oversize nobody can ever fill her shoes.
We should set up a breast cancer fund in her honor, this disease takes thousands of lives yearly, even men suffer from it

At 10:41 PM, Blogger betmo said...

me too.

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Sandra Green said...

I too will miss Molly, I have been missing her for months, since I read she that she was fighting her cancer for the third time about the time Anne Richards died from the same disease. It was like they were linked spiritually. Molly was so upset about about our government's plan for the rich elite.

From The Nation:

With that in mind, the Berkeley Daily Planet is hereby launching what it is calling the "Molly Ivins Festschrift." As executive editor Becky O'Malley wrote in today's edition:

"A festschrift is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial especially to a scholar." Academics are wont to create festschrifts on the occasion of a revered colleague's sixtieth birthday, for example. Molly's already sixty-two, but no time like the present to catch up with what we should have done two years ago. And we might call it festschrift if we could reliably remember how to spell or pronounce that German word, but let's just call it the Molly Ivins Tribute Project."

O'Malley's idea is that Ivins' colleagues in the journalism world should take over and intensify her campaign to make every effort to end the war. "It would be nice," O'Malley adds, "if a lot of these columns could be funny, since skewering serious subjects with humor is what Molly does best, but that's not required." Who, after all, can write about serious subjects as amusingly as Ivins without trivializing them?

The Berkeley Daily Planet has created a special mailbox to receive the offerings. Please send submissions to The paper will publish them as they come in at The best ones will also be published in the paper's Tuesday and Friday print editions. The suggested length is 600 to 800 words. Please also forward this call for contributions to any columnists you read regularly, and to any publications which might circulate the results or highlight the project.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Charles Moore said...

Molly was very special. Her book on Shrub was also an illuminating point for me. I read it and passed it around to all of my friends until it was in tatters.

Almost as much as her column, I enjoyed reading the gnashing of teeth from the wealthy North Shore Republicans in Chicago who despised her and complained constantly to the Tribune that her column should be deleted.

We should follow the example of the Japanese and declare her a national treasure.

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Here in flat earth Kansas Molly's column was actually cancelled due to reader complaints.
When I refer to flat earth I am not referring to the geography but to the people on the State Board Of The Uneducated who refuse to let evolution be taught in schools.
Wouldn't Give 'em Hell Harry Truman have loved Molly's style?
Tom, would you believe Bush issued a statement on Molly's passing?In deference to my favorite toy, my pc I did not read it.
Excellent post Tom, Molly may be reading it and laughing

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Wilma Lamb said...

Dear Tom, I think Molly would cheer this, AL GORE HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE!!!! Another slap at Bush

At 1:56 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

The tributes have been pouring in. Molly Ivins deserves these honored memories and accolades. But still, there is an empty spot that can never be filled.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Saltwater said...

Yes, it is sad to lose Molly Ivins. Hopefully others will continue to rise up and speak out as she did, follow her lead, as the best way to honor her memory.


At 2:47 PM, Blogger SueGei said...

some time ago, Our Molly suggested that those of us that are able to do so leave a sum of money in our will to the ACLU so that they can continue to raise hell in your name after you're gone. I've done that, and I get a sneaky grin on my face every time I think about it. If you don't like the ACLU, then pick an organization you do like; and, if you are able, leave them A Little Something. do it in Molly's memory.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

There's a hole in the heart of this country that will take a long time to fill. I watched my mother die from cancer. It's a terrible, painful, desease.

Molly Ivins will NEVER truly die. We have her words, and her incredible wit. She will stike from the grave at Bush's cold heart. She will do what she has always done. Noone on heaven or earth can stop her now!!


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