Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, Peace-Monger: Dead of Breast Cancer

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Molly Ivins -- that fearless writer, political activist, and hell-raiser for liberal values -- died about five hours ago, felled by breast cancer, at the age of 62.

Molly Ivins was sharp-tongued and hilariously funny, and she didn't spare herself:

“I’m sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person,” she said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News in September, the same month cancer claimed her friend former Gov. Ann Richards.

To Ivins, "liberal" was no insult. "Even I felt sorry for Richard Nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal — fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed," she wrote in a column included in her 1998 collection, "You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You."

In a column in mid-January, Ivins urged readers to stand up against Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

"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," Ivins wrote in the Jan. 11 column. "We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

Via Firedoglake, here is a stunning photograph of Ivins; she was a beautiful woman, inside and outside.

Barbara O'Brien writes that Ivins was "a bright light in very dark times":

Back when Bush was riding high in the polls and news media was dancing to his tune, Molly Ivins’s columns were proof that there was at least one sane citizen left in America.

Avedon Carol admired Ivins' verbal acuity; she was a master of the right word at the right time:

I loved Molly Ivins. I have a whole speech of hers about censorship on tape from a conference on that subject back in the early '90s, and I've listened to it more than once, just because she's so great to listen to. Smart, funny, insightful, and a marvellous repository of Texas political history, she was one of those people who remind you why you ever cared about journalism. And she was a special gift to those of us who love language.

Steven D., posting at Booman Tribune, reminds us of the very best way we can remember and appreciate what Molly Ivins made of her life:

If you ever read Molly, you knew she was funny, sassy and full of life. From her writing alone I could discern these character traits. By all accounts, how she presented herself in print was also how she appeared in person. A fighter? Yes. Tough? Yes. And also a great advocate for progressive causes, not just in America but around the world.

Evidence of that can be seen in the fact that on her death bed she was supporting the anti-war demonstrations last weekend and calling for more of them. She believed passionately that America and Americans could be a positive force for good in the world, a force for advancing human rights, freedom and simple human decency. The Bush lies and deceits that led us into Iraq offended her greatly because she believed a great nation is not founded upon the victories it achieves in war (and especially not in a war of aggression that served no one's interests but a few multinational companies such as Halliburton and Exxon), but upon the principles it stands for and promotes, principles like peace, justice and equality for all peoples on this planet we call Earth. She was to coin a phrase, a peace monger. I mourn her passing.

But I also take to heart her last message to us: We are the deciders. We showed that in November 2006. Let's keep showing it now.

So call or write your Congressional members every day. Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers. Do whatever you can to advance the causes you hold dear, that matter to you, whether they be forestalling another tragic war with Iran, ending the war in Iraq, universal health care, global warming, helping the people of the Gulf coast who were victimized by Hurricane Katrina and by the inadequacy of the Bush administration’s response, protecting our civil liberties, fairness in media, promoting legislation to help end prejudice and bigotry, and promote tolerance of all the diverse peoples who make up this country of ours: Male, Female, White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered or Heterosexual. Whatever your cause, make the decision to do something to bring it about.

Because we are the deciders. We can decide to do nothing out of apathy or fear, or we can decide to take action, motivated not by anger or hatred of those who have despoiled this great nation, but by the truest love one can show for our country and our fellow citizens, a love that calls for each of us to do whatever it takes to make America a better place for all who live here.

That's what Molly Ivins was really trying to tell us when she said we were the deciders. I can't think of a better message for her to have left us, can you?

Molly Ivins worked for peace and justice. She is resting in that peace now. It's up to us to keep working for the justice.


Daniel DiRito said...

See Molly Ivins at her satirical best in a video called "The Dildo Diaries"

Chief said...

I am so sorry. I did not realize that she was that sick.

I am shocked.