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 want to hear 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 US 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 and 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 some day.”
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 January 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.