The death of Molly Ivins today ended an amazing career... no, that doesn't work. I can't adequately write how I feel, but I'll simply state what's on my mind.
Molly Ivins was one of my literary heroes, someone whose wit and storytelling skills both inspired me and made me laugh. Her politics were mostly my own, but I would have enjoyed reading her work even if I were a Republican. She was a writer for the "regular folks": she took complex political issues and distilled them through her Texas filter, making them accessible to all.
Molly could be frustrated by right-wing yahoos and political sell-outs, but she never lost her faith in Americans. She was an enthusiastic devotee of our democracy and forever believed the power of the people would eventually triumph over the forces of greed, corruption, and ignorance. That eternal optimism, combined with a mental toughness, speaks volumes why it took a good eight years for breast cancer to finally take her life.
I did have the opportunity to meet her once, in 2003, while she was promoting her latest book (her third collaboration with Lou Dubose), Bushwhacked. She was typical Molly, telling stories many of the audience had heard before but didn't mind a bit. We got autographs, too; mine reads: "Raise more hell, laugh more too!" I do my best.
Molly Ivins was down to earth, hilarious, and a true patriot. She was far more a quintessential American than anyone in the White House could boast. Her words of wisdom, her stories, and her hope for America's future will always be an inspiration for me.
Check out this obit of Molly Ivins in The Nation.