Copyright © 2002 Henrietta W. Hay
Molly Ivins Comes to Town
"Hang in, keep raisin' hell and don't forget to keep laughin' too." OK,
Molly Ivins, It was good advice you gave me that afternoon in Denver
nine years ago when you autographed one of your books for me after your
speech to the A. C. L. U. I'm still hangin', but it's tough
The laughin' gets a little hard occasionally when you're a liberal
feminist pro-choice Democrat in Colorado, but things are looking up.
After all I live in a fairly conservative part of Colorado, which is a
fairly conservative state. That's a little like saying that bears sleep
in the winter and like honey. For a while I was keeping a count of
the Liberals in town on my fingers and toes, but I've long since run out
of toes. While still a minority, I think we can come out of the closet
and quit identifying ourselves by the "L" word.
Last week Grand Junction got a major treat when Molly Ivins spoke here
for the Western Colorado Congress meeting. It was like a miracle to me
-- one of the nation's best known and most outspoken liberal writers
bringing down the house in Happy Valley with her combination of politics
In case there is anyone within the range of my voice that does not know
who Molly Ivins is, I think she is the funniest, sharpest, wisest
political columnist writing today. She is six feet tall and runs her
hands through hair and paces when she talks. She is native Texan and
you have to speak a little Teksus to understand exactly what she is
saying. Somebody wrote once that her voice sounds like it's soaked in
bourbon and filtered through cigarette smoke. She didn't deny it. She
hates hypocrites and stuffed shirts and self-righteous people who
threaten free speech.
At 58 she is a beautiful woman with a world class sense of humor and a
world class brain. In "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" she wrote,
"I've always been more of an observer than participant in Texas
Womanhood: the spirit was willing but I was declared ineligible on the
grounds of size early. You can't be six feet tall and cute both . . .I
spent my girlhood as a Clydesdale among thoroughbreds."
Her two greatest honors, so she says, are that the Minneapolis police
force named its mascot pig after her and that she was once banned from
Texas A&M's college campus.
Molly writes and talks about politiks. That's the way they spell it in
Teksus. She made the point that politiks is not THEM (in Washington).
It is US, right here where we live. She said, "The main thing that is
wrong with American politics is that it is corrupt. It's been
thoroughly corrupted, and the usual suspect is responsible, which is
money. But it is fixable. It is up to us as voters. We are the Board
My friend the philosopher looked around the auditorium and asked, "Where
were the young Liberals?" This was mainly an older crowd. Where were
the young men and women who will be legislators and cabinet members and
presidents in the future? Where is the "US" of 2030?
One way for the people to take back the power, according to Ivins, is
to support Colorado Amendment 27, the Campaign Finance Reform
Amendment. "It's a splendid amendment," she said. It won't cure
everything, but it's a start. "We get these politicians elected to
public office and they have to dance with what brung them. We don't
want them to owe anybody but us."
OK, Molly, I'll keep on raisin' hell and remember to keep on laughin'
too. And thanks for coming to our town and bringing a breath of fresh