Thursday, February 01, 2007

Light to Light

There are plenty of news stories about the passing of Molly Ivins today.

A very bright light has returned to the light.

My favorite Molly Ivins story goes something like this.

"You know, here in Texas we only have one party and that's the way its been for a hundred years. Well, folks began talking about starting another party, and I thought that's a good idea, we could use two parties in this state..... But it never occured to me that they were thinking of starting a party to the right of the Texas Democratic Party."

I first met Molly backstage at the Armadillo World Headquarters. She, like the rest of us, was a a real hippy, not some weekend concert going dope smoking hipster.

But, unlike some of us, she never let the dollar blur her vision, or the quest for personal power alter her sense of what is right.

It's often said, that you don't appreciate what you've got until its gone.

In Molly's case, neither is true.

Most of us knew long ago that her love of justice and her ability to find humor in the darkest of truths, both in ourselves and in our leaders, qualified her as a cultural treasure. And most of us suspected that her words and her spirit would live on with a longevity equal to the other great humorist of our culture.

Here is part of her last column written just three weeks ago.

Stand Up Against the ‘Surge’

Posted on Jan 11, 2007
By Molly Ivins

The purpose of this old-fashioned newspaper crusade to stop the war is not to make George W. Bush look like the dumbest president ever. People have done dumber things. What were they thinking when they bought into the Bay of Pigs fiasco? How dumb was the Egypt-Suez war? How massively stupid was the entire war in Vietnam? Even at that, the challenge with this misbegotten adventure is that we simply cannot let it continue.

It is not a matter of whether we will lose or we are losing. We have lost. Gen. John P. Abizaid, until recently the senior commander in the Middle East, insists that the answer to our problems there is not military. “You have to internationalize the problem. You have to attack it diplomatically, geo-strategically,” he said.

His assessment is supported by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the senior American commander in Iraq, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who only recommend releasing forces with a clear definition of the goals for the additional troops. "

She closes with these words.

"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. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding,

Stop it, now!”

The other night, I laid in bed trying to think of a way to communicate the uselessness in trying to salvage something good out of a war that was started with lies, prosecuted with lies, and now moves into new vistas of even more egregious lies.

And I remembered the line in Matthew about the tree.

"Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. "

Molly is the good tree.

Her last words spoke of the bad one.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen. A perfect scripture for these times and this president.

4:15 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

I had to rewrite a couple of sentences in the evening. They just weren't good enough

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly Ivins Shook the Walls With Her Clarion Call

By Maya Angelou
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, February 2, 2007; C01

Up to the walls of Jericho

She marched with a spear in her hand

Go blow them ram horns she cried

For the battle is in my hand

The walls have not come down, but they have been given a serious shaking.

That Jericho voice is stilled now.

Molly Ivins has been quieted.

The writer and journalist, dearly loved and admired by many, hated and feared by many, died of cancer in her Texas home on Jan. 31, 2007.

The walls of ignorance and prejudice and cruelty, which she railed against valiantly all her public life, have not fallen, but their truculence to do so does not speak against her determination to make them collapse.

Weeks before she died, she launched what she called "an old-fashioned newspaper crusade" against President Bush's announcement that he was going to send more troops to Iraq.

She wrote, "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. Every single day every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it now!' "

Years ago there was a fundraising gala for People for the American Way in New York, and Molly Ivins was keynote speaker. I was a loyal collector and serious Ivins reader, but I had not met the author. Another famous journalist, who was to have introduced her, had his flight canceled in a Southern city. Norman Lear, founder of the organization, asked me to introduce her. I did not hesitate. I spoke glowingly about Ms. Ivins for a few minutes, then, suddenly, a six-foot-tall, red-haired woman sprang from the wings. She strode onto the stage and over to the microphone. She gave me an enveloping hug and said, in that languorous Texas accent, "Maya Angelou and I are identical twins, we were separated at birth."

I am also six feet tall, but I am not white. She was under 50 when she made the statement, and I was in my middle 60s, but our hearts do beat in the same rhythm. Whoever separated us at birth must know it did not work. We have been in the struggle for equal rights for all people since we met on that Waldorf Astoria stage. We have laughed together without apology and we have wept when weeping was necessary.

I shall be weeping a little more these days but I shall never forget the charge. Joshua commanded the people to shout and the walls came tumbling down.


I am shouting,

With two voices,

Walls come down!

Walls come down!

Walls come down!

5:47 AM  

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