Oh how we miss you, Molly Ivins!

If only you knew how much we miss your journalistic soft-core bellicosity, the political satire and celebrated puns! If only you knew how much more there is to be done to right this ship-nation of ours listing to the right… and ready to sink! But you know, yes you know… and had no recourse, accepting mortality just like the rest of us.

Today marks a year since you left us escorted by Eirene and Hypatia, as if to honor your fight for peace with intelligence, wit and wisdom. No better escorts to heaven than the goddess of peace and that woman-scholar killed, not by breast cancer like you, Molly, but by a Christian mob of “fundamentalists”; Hypatia, the first martyr of science, greatest mind of her time, assassinated by religion almost sixteen centuries ago.

Right to the end you advocated peace, and just a few days before your death you wrote that last column fighting to stop the war in Iraq, as you had done non-stop for four years, telling us in that column: “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… We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, ‘Stop it, now!’” But unfortunately, dear Molly, too many of us seem to have abdicated our freedoms and decision-making to that man in the White House you called Shrub, a man who rules our lives with an empty “upstairs” and a fossilized heart.

I never met Molly, but deep inside I thought I knew her well. And I yearned for approval from her on those articles I wrote during the time preceding the Iraq invasion, and over three years afterwards. All my writing was, needless to say, relegated to “subterranean” print and digital publications, limited to readership living in the catacombs, a maligned “un-American” Left. Molly’s long-standing professionalism and mastery of the political moment kept her mainstream to the end. And Americans should feel good about that.

Starting in mid-2003, at just about the time Saddam’s TV-famous statue was toppled – lassoed down from a pedestal in Baghdad before a rent-a-crowd from Saddam City – I started sending Molly copies of many of my columns, mainly those which dealt with the war. I felt that I was probably sending those copies straight to a cyber basket where tens of thousands of emails to Miss Ivins weekly found their way… like snowflakes reaching the warm ground, and deleting themselves. Or so I thought!

It was in mid-February 2004 when I received an email from this great lady, brief and to the point, without the slightest Texas twang. “Ben,” it said “stop wasting precious time sending me copies of your columns. I read all your articles as soon as the ink dries.” I was dumbfounded; staring at what was the most precious valentine I’ve ever received.

Personally, dear Molly, I’ll really be missing in the next few weeks and months your take on the upcoming elections, your critical political eye, and the truth that would emanate from the pounding of your fingers over the keyboard. Musical sounds of satire to my ears, and the ears of many in the nation not plugged by the waspish-wax of the Right.

But your criticism wasn’t directed at the Right, or the Left for that matter. You were a truly equal opportunity satirist, and always called the shots as you saw them, yielding only to two things: truth and compassion, or what many would call, love for humanity. I wonder did anyone ever fool you in this masquerade of American politics? I have my doubts. I will never forget your keen perception of political reality as you de-iced the real Bill Clinton which ended with the statement: “Besides, no one but a fool or a Republican ever took him for a liberal.” Do we realize how many fools we have around, particularly in the media?

There was another Mary Tyler [Moore] who for decades was America’s TV sweetheart. You, Molly, were our Mary Tyler in political journalism, although we called you Molly instead of Mary. Saint Molly… pray for us, and intercede with the Almighty to bring us peace in Iraq, Afghanistan; also our minds and our hearts.