I miss Molly.
I miss Molly Ivins.
It's been a very, very long process leading up to the November 4 election. And Molly Ivins would've made it easier for all of us. For those unlucky souls who never knew - or knew of - Molly, you need to know this: she was a writer, she was a Texan, and she was really damn funny. Molly died in January 2007 of breast cancer. It's hard to believe she's been gone for nearly two years - that she missed the whole thing. It would have meant so much to the child of the pre-Civil Rights era to see Barack Obama announce his candidacy, to the tall Texas feminist to see Hillary Clinton's campaign, to the woman who loved men who love whiskey and women to write about John McCain.
Molly Ivins was one of the funniest writers I've ever read. And she made small talk easier for me - any time I met a Texan, I only had to say "I read Molly Ivins" to start a conversation. About half of them said, "oh, yes, isn't she wonderful?" The other half would say, "I don't agree with a word she says, but isn't she wonderful?" And that was the beauty of her work - that even though she had a strong political slant, she wrote in a way that you wanted to hear what she had to say, regardless of your opinion. So she encouraged her readers to think, and reflect on their own positions.
Molly helped us understand why oil billionaires couldn't get poverty. She showed the lovable sides of Charlie Wilson and Ross Perot. She once wrote a touching eulogy which included a story about Sears catalog pages in the outhouse.
But mostly, Molly wrote about local politics. And that's why I'm writing to you. Here's what she had to say about the Texas Legislature:
It's all very well to dismiss the dismal sight of our Legislature in action by saying, "I'm just not interested in politics," but the qualifications of the people who prescribe your eyeglasses, how deep you will be buried, what books your kids read in school, whether your beautician knows how to give a perm, the size of the cells in Stripe City, and a thousand and one other matters that touch your lives daily are decided by the dweebs, dorks, geeks, crooks, and bozos we've put into public office.
That's where we come in - choosing the bozos - or better still, choosing some that aren't.
I've just made a small donation to John Polles, who I hope will soon be my State Representative. And I'd like to suggest you do something similar, in your community. Get involved with your local races. Give to a candidate you like - any contribution will be helpful at this point. Stop by the appropriate party's office and pick up a button or a yard sign. Volunteer to campaign for a candidate - there's still time to convince voters in the local races.
And when you do it, mention Molly's name. Do it for her. Do it to honor her memory. There's no reason for her to miss this election just because she's dead.
And do it for yourself. Because when a bunch of politicians are making decisions that affect you every day, you want one of them to be someone you've picked.
Please share this with your friends - if they don't know Molly Ivins' work, they'll want to. And they need to know who's cutting their hair, too.