Ithaca Blog

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins, Rest in Peace

A great writer is lost to us with the passing of Molly Ivins, the liberal Texas journalist and author. Ms. Ivins waged a public battle against breast cancer for seven years. She was 62.

Ms. Ivins was a clear-eyed and caustic critic of conservative politicians in her home state and nationally. But her writing was devoid of sanctimony or hectoring. Instead it was filled with common sense, passion, and humor.

Ms. Ivins worked for a time for the New York Times, which she eventually left, declaring it "a great newspaper, but No Fun." She wrote for scores of periodicals over the years, and authored six books, but her professional and spiritual base was the Texas Observer, the biweekly paper founded in the 1950's to provide, according to its motto, "Sharp Reporting From the Strangest State in the Union."

Ms. Ivins worked until the end. Last autumn, she gave a speech at the University of Texas and could barely speak above a whisper. She implored the students to use their abilites to make a difference in the world. She was impatient with apathy. "Politics is not a picture on a wall or a televison sitcom you can decide you don't much care for," she said.

Molly Ivins ended one of her last columns, "Stand Up Against the Surge", 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 January 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

Thank you, Molly Ivins.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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