Friday, February 2, 2007

Molly the Great

**Editor's Note: Though this post was originally published on Thursday (2/1/07), I am going to continue to run it at the top ahead of my more recent posts. It is only appropriate that I give Ms. Ivins the spotlight she deserves.

In January of 2006, Molly Ivins wrote a piece on how she refused to back Hillary Clinton for president. Her reasoning was persuasive and she was funny, damn funny. But perhaps the one thing I took from that piece was a small bit on courage:
"The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to relearn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, "Look the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy--rough, tough Bobby Kennedy--didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake?"

Perhaps the greatest lesson Molly Ivins taught me through her writing is that courage comes with a price. This piece, like many others, had a powerful and profound impact on me.

We all felt as if we knew Molly intimately because she spoke truth to power and mirrored our feelings on the war, the president, the state of our nation, and at times the absolute absurdity of Washington politics. She opened the door for us to express our views, though none of us could, or would, ever match her brilliance.

If on one day of my life I can be as thoughtful, courageous, and honest as Molly Ivins was every last day of her life, I will be content. God bless you, Molly Ivins.

1 comment :

Jared said...

On a human level, her death is tragic, as it always is for someone who suffers and eventually succumbs to cancer. President Bush said of her after her passing: "I respected her convictions, her passionate belief in the power of words, and her ability to turn a phrase. She fought her illness with that same passion. Her quick wit and commitment to her beliefs will be missed." There is obviously some irony in the fact that she never afforded the President the same respect he was willing to give her amid her vitriolic diatribe. I say this knowing beforehand that it will be misunderstood and I will be called intolerant and suppressive. And I make no apologies for those on the Right that do much of the same against their opponents. Sure she disagreed with the President and was critical of him and if you agree with current poll numbers, at least half of the country does as well. Certainly nothing wrong with disagreeing and even loudly disagreeing. The sad thing is that Molly Ivins’ career was built on blind hatred, insults, and ad hominem attacks (not acceptable political disagreement) which only contributed to the partisan polarization in this country. On these grounds I must say I hold her in much lower esteem than the President does. Molly Ivins, I have no respect for you or the work you did and efforts you made to defame your political opponents. This country can do better.