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Molly Ivins
Molly Ivins
1 Feb 2007
Molly Ivins Tribute


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What Would Molly Think?


AUSTIN, Texas -- The question I have been asked most often during the last two years is, "What would Molly think about this?" Molly Ivins would have loved this election. She would have loved the beautiful sight of "We the People" finally stepping up to become the real deciders. She would have loved the drama, the comedy and the characters.

We miss her regular twice-weekly comments and insights, and hearing her dissect, slice and dice, and make fun of the events and revelations of the week. No one could do it like she did. She made us feel like we weren't alone. She made us want to be our better selves and stand up and use our power. She would be so proud that we finally woke up and worked to make this happen.

In many of her lectures, she would exhort her audience to believe in their power. She'd say:  "I hear people whine: 'I can't do anything. I'm just one person.'" Then she'd lift her head high and quote from the Declaration of Independence in her Barbara Jordon voice, and remind them, "As a U.S. citizen, you have more political power than most humans who've ever lived on this earth."

In fact, we know how she would have felt, because she was as prescient about this election before her death two years ago as she was about all the other tragedies of the Bush years. Carlton Carl, CEO/publisher at Molly's beloved Texas Observer, recalls her saying after Obama's 2004 speech at the Democratic convention, "You know ... that young man could be president someday."

Before Barack Obama announced his candidacy, Chicago Magazine asked a number of luminaries if they thought he should run. Opinions varied. Molly was succinct and direct, and with her usual wit and certainty said: "Yes, he should run. He's the only Democrat with any Elvis to him."

And, in her column on Jan. 20, 2006, she said: "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 ... with the guts to do it." She was speaking about Gene McCarthy then, but it might as well have been Barack Obama.

She'd be so happy that her beloved Constitution (she donated one speech a month to groups working to preserve and maintain the First Amendment) is in safer hands -- that some of the worst things ever done in our name are over. She'd love that Barack Obama began his community organizing knowing that power lies in all of us united and that he continues to remind us that we are the deciders.

I saw and heard many interviews after Nov. 4 and during inaugural celebrations with people who all said they wished their mother or father or grandmother or friend had been here to witness this history in the making. Tens of thousands of us wished that Molly could have been here to see it.

I choose to believe she and all of them did see it because they live on in our hearts, minds and actions. Molly is honored with awards, lectures and scholarships in her name. Many of her readers formed "Pots & Pans" Brigades, following the advice in her final two columns to take to the streets and demand an end to the Iraq war. She always signed her books and her letters with, "Raise more hell," and you can make her live on by doing just that.

She lives in everyone who took courage in who they are and what they thought when they read her columns and books, and knew they weren't alone and weren't crazy. She lives on in The Texas Observer ( and the ACLU (, to whom she left a large portion of her estate.

In a letter for the ACLU, she says: "I don't have any children, so I've decided to claim all the future freedom-fighters and hell-raisers as my kin. I figure freedom and justice beat having my name in marble any day. Besides, if there is another life after this one, think how much we'll get to laugh watching it all."

Ken Bunting, an old friend of Molly's who's now associate publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, said of Molly on Election Day, "I'm not much of a believer, but I think our friend is looking down and smiling right along with Barack's grandma." You know, I think he is right.


17 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am;... The Joe Hills of another day said: Don't mourn; Organize!!!. No... We should Mourn, and disorganize... No organization stands a chance against the power of the government to infiltrate, or to insinuate... Few organiztions can get beyond the force of politics, the personality of all organizations... Instead, people should act as individuals...I would argue that there is no such thing...An individual is a victim, ready made from birth for exploitation...A common defense is denied to us; and yet we find we must tribalize... We are forced to stand together, to stand at all...How ever we concieve of ourselves is how we must unite for a common defense of rights...Yet, we are isolated as individuals, and defined by philosophy as individuals, and that is how we should act... Do not organize... Have the courage to stand alone... Have the courage to resist injustice...Don't try to make a party or move a party, and don't even justify the power of parties... Stand against it all... Stand only for democracy....Make an impediment of yourself... Resist the machine, and ask no leave... They think our individuality is our weakness... Make it your strength... Do as you please... Make your own law.. Make your own economy...Make your own religion... Form your own relationships... And make your own government... Save your trust for those who earn it... Withdraw your trust from the forms of the past... Molly is Dead, and I am sorry for that, because She was Cool... But we see what we are against... The republicans have chosen party above country... So have the democrats; really...The organization is not the answer, at least, not unless it will deliver justice... Let us take a moment for the dear ones we have left behind, and steel ourselves for the hard days ahead... Beyond that will be our day, our time, a new promise of glory for this land, and a new hope for freedom; or only more of hell and degradation... It is your choice... Your whole future is in your hands...This nightmare for the rich, the successful, and the powerful is a dreamscape for the revolutionary...I have prayed for this moment in time, and saw it coming from a long way off... It has found me old and broken, and it may yet bury me; but the world, turning by fits and starts is quaking beneath our feet... Praise this day of decision....Reach out to embrace the dawn... Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:37 AM
Hey, Betsy,

Its Hope, this is a very good article. I agree Molly would be so excited to see Obama become president. I miss her so much. A day does not go by that she pops in my thoughts, also in my dreams. For some reason she is still having her get together parties. So, she is telling me she is still keep up with friends and us down here.

As, I said in my speech at the church "GIVE EM HELL, MOLLY"!!! We miss you and Love you. And you will always be in our hearts and thoughts...

Hope aka Hopester as you would call me on a daily basis...
Comment: #2
Posted by: Hope
Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:03 PM
Thank you for this column. I miss Molly's wonderfully irreverent, always intelligent, down to earth, humorous view of politics. Lord Almighty, she'd have a lot to say right now. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.
Comment: #3
Posted by: just_lookin
Sun Mar 8, 2009 4:31 PM
Damn, Betsy. I'm crying again ..... great crocodile tears of sadness and joy. Wow do we miss her!
Comment: #4
Posted by: John
Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:07 PM
Ms. Moon: What a nice reflection on our old friend. Thank you very much.
Comment: #5
Posted by: The Media Ranger
Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:07 AM
Was reading about torture and decided to make myself laugh by looking up some favorite columns and found this. Ms. Moon, thanks you for sharing.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Jay Neal
Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:02 PM
Thank you for a wonderful tribute to Molly, Betsy. I often ask that question - what would Molly think? How I miss her unique brand of humor and her insightful analysis. Does anyone out there have a suggestion for a Molly substitute? I need to find someone who can write just a bit like her.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Sharon Henn
Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:22 PM
Texas sure could use Molly to question--needle--Gov. Goodhair when he made a fool of himself, again, so recently.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Art Darwin
Mon May 4, 2009 4:16 PM
Molly would have enjoyed describing and dismissing the pretensions of the tea party and republican party sillies and subversives and she would have taken to task the democrats who have been less than 100% supportive of our great President.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Fred Blanche
Mon May 24, 2010 4:38 PM
I was a devoed reader of Molly Ivins back when, and I've never wanted to zap my internet link to hwe work since she died. Sort of eternal mourning, I guess. We sureley could use her insights and wit these days, but alas! No More.
Comment: #10
Posted by: BobM
Fri May 28, 2010 10:34 PM
I remember the Molly Ivans, Jim Hightower collaberations were right out of this world.Please keep her spirit alive.She surely spoke to me.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Bertrand
Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:23 AM
I am currently reading Molly's book "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?", published in 1991. She is so funny and so right on! I can't put it down. I am amazed at how current it is and how much it still applies to 2011, twenty years later. When she writes about Reagan, she could be describing "Dubya" and how appropriate when she describes the times then, and how she could just as well be talking about the same old game now. The "tea party" and the "new/old" Republican party are up to their same old tricks. I wish she were here to give us her perspective on it. God love her! She is my hero!
Phyllis W.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Phyllis Waldenberg
Sat Apr 2, 2011 7:09 PM
For some time I have been collecting info to do a book on the god bu$ine$$....the title of the folder
in my Fisher Price computer is titled Fred Loves You...Molly's reference to the spirit up there...almost
every day thus far in 2011 I think of Molly and what she is missing with all the nut cases running for
pres on the GD ticket...that's God Ducat, cousin...imagine, her dream ticket would be Texas Perry
for president, Wingnut Bachman for her spirit, download this one...
...rattle me...doral chenoweth/ remote columbus, ohio
Comment: #13
Posted by: doral chenoweth
Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:43 AM
I still miss molly
Comment: #14
Posted by: jean
Fri Aug 5, 2011 4:53 PM
Was reading about tomorrow's WI recall election and thought about the "Killer D's" from 2003. Such a blessing to come here and find a couple of her hallmark stories of those days. I'm sure that's where the WI Dems took their cue. How we miss her voice today.

Comment: #15
Posted by: Loco Moco
Mon Aug 8, 2011 6:57 AM
RED HOT PATRIOT comes to L.A. Jan 3, 2012! Sub titled:' The kick-ass wit of Molly Ivins'. Sounds like a tribute!
I hope tickets are still available!
Comment: #16
Posted by: Rich Detwiler
Thu Dec 1, 2011 7:25 PM
Still missing Molly, her wisdom and the way her columns always made me laugh.
Comment: #17
Posted by: jean
Fri May 3, 2013 4:53 AM
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