We should all bubble up with joy and delight; for tomorrow is Election Day and we women get to vote. It’s really quite extraordinary that so many people are so casual about such a precious privilege. We live in a free country. We get to participate in choices about our laws, about those who represent us, and we get to try to do the right thing! Before 1920, we only could have participated as far as those who resented us would have tolerated.
So in a spirit of celebration, I just want to post a few quips by Molly Ivins, the late-great political commentator from Texas. She was as big and brash as that State in her expression of opinion about the absurdities and foibles that accompany the game of politics. Here, then, are some samples of her delicious wit.
• 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.
• The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
• 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.
• You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.
• What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
Instead of outrage, why not ENGAGE. Cast your ballot. Be a part of an idealistic process, and then pop a cork and celebrate your freedoms. It’s a great day in America when we are allowed entry to that tiny bit of real estate called the ballot box!