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The Late Great Molly Ivins

I have just polished off Molly Ivins last work, “The Bill of Wrongs” written with longtime collaboration partner Lou DeBose.  The work is stunning; case studies on how the Bush Administration officials have subverted the civil rights of ordinary Americans and rendered a Canadian citizen to be tortured.  I dare OC conservatives to read it and still defend the actions of this president and their party.

It’s been nearly a year since Molly Ivins left us.  Below, you’ll find some samples of her wit and wisdom.

  • The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.
  • What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
  • Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.
  • The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
  • Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.
  • There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity — like what Garrison Keillor does. The other kind holds people up to public contempt and ridicule — that’s what I do. Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.
  • I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.
  • You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.

  • It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
  • What stuns me most about contemporary politics is not even that the system has been so badly corrupted by money. It is that so few people get the connection between their lives and what the bozos do in Washington and our state capitols.
  • Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.
  • There’s never been a law yet that didn’t have a ridiculous consequence in some unusual situation; there’s probably never been a government program that didn’t accidentally benefit someone it wasn’t intended to. Most people who work in government understand that what you do about it is fix the problem — you don’t just attack the whole government.
  • I believe in practicing prudence at least once every two or three years.
  • It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.
  • Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant – it tends to get worse.
  • I still believe in Hope – mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.
  • One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it’s not that bad yet — but it’s getting that bad.
  • It’s like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.
  • In the real world, there are only two ways to deal with corporate misbehavior: One is through government regulation and the other is by taking them to court. What has happened over 20 years of free-market proselytizing is that we have dangerously weakened both forms of restraint, first through the craze for “deregulation” and second through endless rounds of “tort reform,” all of which have the effect of cutting off citizens’ access to the courts. By legally bribing politicians with campaign contributions, the corporations have bought themselves immunity from lawsuits on many levels.
  • Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory.
  • During a recent panel on the numerous failures of American journalism, I proposed that almost all stories about government should begin: “Look out! They’re about to smack you around again!”
  • I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.
  • The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children’s blood.
  • from her last column, January 11, 2007: 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.

If you haven’t yet discovered Molly Ivins as a powerful voice for progressive thought, please pick up her books.