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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Peace and Laughter Be With You, Molly

Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins
August 30, 1944 - January 31, 2007
She was one of us ...
"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." --From her last column, "Stand Up Against the Surge," January 11, 2007

One of her last columns from January 7, 2007: Bubba, We -- Yes, We --Have to Stop the War Now. Excerpt:

This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will ... 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?

Other Molly quotes:

— "The poor man who is currently our president has reached such a point of befuddlement that he thinks stem cell research is the same as taking human lives, but that 40,000 dead Iraqi civilians are progress toward democracy," from a July 2006 column urging commentator Bill Moyers to run for president.

— "Many people did not care for Pat Buchanan's speech; it probably sounded better in the original German," Ivins in September 1992, commenting on the one-time presidential hopeful's speech to the Republican National Convention.

— "I'll remember sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I'll remember people," from her farewell column to Texas Observer readers in 1976, when she took a job with the New York Times

The Austin American-Statesman has all kinds of terrific coverage of Molly's life and times.

Some quotes about Molly:

Molbald"For a woman who made a profession of offering her opinion to others, Molly was remarkably humble. She was known for hosting unforgettable parties at her Austin home, which would feature rollicking political discussions, and impromptu poetry recitals and satirical songs. At one such event, I noticed her dining table was littered with various awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat. When I called this to her attention, Molly matter-of-factly replied, "Well, what else am I going to do with 'em?" -- Anthony Zurcher, her long-time editor at Creators Syndicate

"She was just like a force of nature. She was just always on and sharp and witty and funny and was one of a kind." --

Ivinsmolly_1"She was as courageous in her struggle with cancer as she was forthright in her words. A true Texas original — she could provoke a laugh, even from the old mossbacks who were her targets. No matter how great the challenge, she brought great cheer to progressives." --

Like many journalists of the 1960s, Ivins earned a reputation as something of a partyer, and, until her health declined, she hosted at her Austin home monthly gatherings of writers and rabble-rousers.

"She always had a rambunctious bunch of mavericks and mutts, journalists and old-time liberals," recalled her friend Jim Hightower, a former Democratic agriculture commissioner and now a radio host and lecturer. "They'd be old people tottering around in their 80s and kiddies. Molly was there with the best of 'em." -- Houston Chronicle

There are a collection of photos, recollections and Mollyisms over at The Texas Observer, the top-notch, fiercely independent publication she helped found and nurtures even now. Ivins left her estate to be split between the Observer and the American Civil Liberties Union and also asked that if people wanted to memorialize her that they do so by donating to them. (Note, the Observer site is experiencing incredible traffic today and it can be difficult to load.)

There's a cool video of Molly in action at the March, 2002 Rolling Thunder Down Home Democracy Tour in Austin. Remember, she says, to have fun while you fight for freedom.

Mary Ellen and I had the pleasure of experiencing Molly live and in person at the DFA's 2005 Democracy Fest in Austin. She was everywhere -- at panel discussions, mingling with attendees, at the BBQ party at Stubbs, at the big rally with Howard Dean, Jim Hightower and others. She was funny as hell, present as hell, and seemed very happy to be among a crowd of her liberal extended clan. She made us happy, too.

Rallying the crowd at DemFest
Hanging out on a balcony cheering the other speeches
At the BBQ at DemFest

We'll miss her. And remember her. And keep on laughing and working for the cause because whats else can we do? Adios, Molly. Be sure to pass along a howdy to your rowdy co-conspirator, Ann Richards. We miss her too. (Click on photos for larger images.)


January 31, 2007 at 09:23 PM in Current Affairs, Media | Permalink


What a fantastic picture! I paid tribute tonight, too; it's been amazing to read how much she touched everyone.


Posted by: | Jan 31, 2007 10:38:59 PM

So long as there are scoundrels in the state house, the Congress or the White House,
So long as the poor are left succorless,
So long as inequity lounges in board rooms,
So long as power is abused and trust is betrayed,
So long will Molly Ivins' spirit two-step across the land,
And laughter and hope will spring up as she passes.

Good work, Molly. Rest easy. We'll take it from here.

Posted by: John in Santa Fe | Jan 31, 2007 11:02:22 PM

Very sad that she passed away so young. We needed her for at least a couple more decades. It seems like the gems often go early. But we must be thankful we had her for as long as we did. She made being a liberal a lot more fun didn't she? She lived life to the hilt, as she wanted to live it. That's freedom.

Posted by: Old Dem | Feb 1, 2007 11:38:42 AM

Why so young? Loved her writing and sad we won't be getting any more of it but it sure was good. She was one of the great ones.

Posted by: JLC | Feb 1, 2007 11:46:25 AM

I highly recommend Maggie's post at m-pyre cited above. Captures Molly's special appeal and how it was possible to feel so close to her. Go read.

Posted by: comments?__mode=red&user_id=26336&id=28608531">barb | Feb 1, 2007 12:20:17 PM

This is so tragic for all of us.
She infused courage and humor into the left during some hard years.
I am glad she lived to see the Democratic taking of congress.
I read her columns since I was a teenager.
I miss her already.

Posted by: qofdisks | Feb 1, 2007 5:40:09 PM

Barb, Thanks for this wonderful tribute to Molly. I'm so sad she's gone... way too soon... such a loss.
I'm happy that you and m.e. got to meet her at Dem Fest.

Posted by: nancy | Feb 1, 2007 10:04:44 PM

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