The Ballad of Molly Ivins

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In memory of Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins

August 30, 1944-January 31, 2007

A song honoring the legacy and spirit of Molly Ivins,

late author and national newspaper columnist from Texas who spoke truth to power with wit and style and inspired readers with her courage and humour to keep on in the struggle for justice.

Come gather round people, I’ve a story to tell

‘Bout a woman from Texas who could raise some hell

She said go into your kitchen grab a pot, grab a pan

And get out on the street and start a “raise a ruckus” band

Soup pot, stew pot, soufflé pan

Grab a wooden spoon and start a-stirring up a plan

First rule of holes: when you’re in one stop diggin’

Stop the war! Get in the street and start jiggin’

Shake it up! Come on people would ya raise a little hell!

Shake it up! You know things are not going so well

If you don’t make a noise no one’s gonna hear a sound

We are the people who will turn this place around!

She’d say, “There’s somethin’ ‘bout politics I came to preach today

And I’m very, very serious about what I’m gonna say

Y’all need to have more fun and celebration

And to do it you just have to exercise imagination

Lord, Lord, let your laughter ring forth!

Deep down in the south! Way up in the north!

Beloveds, be odd, outrageous freedom fighters

We are the people!  We are the deciders

Loosen up! Have a good time and do it with style!

Loosen up! A little cre-a-tivity might make you smile

Loosen up! Fightin’ for freedom your work is never done

It’s a long hard road! Don’t you forget to have fun

When it’s looking dark and gloomy & you need a little cheer

Another crook or crony’s telling lies and spreadin’ fear

Hatch a clever joke and just be-devil the do-badders

Raise some hell! Raise some kick-ass kitchen clatter

Soup pot, stew pot, soufflé pan

Grab a wooden spoon and start a-stirring up a plan

Well, I reckon that’s all, yours truly, Molly Ivins

Stop the war! Get in the street and start jivin’

Shake it up! Come on people would ya raise a little hell!

Shake it up! You know things are not going so well

If you don’t make a noise no one’s gonna hear a sound

We are the people who will turn this place around!


Words and music by Sara Thomsen

© 2008 Sara Thomsen

www.sarathomsen.com

Inspired by Molly's writings and speeches, including the following:

“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. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. … We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!' "

From Molly’s last column, Jan. 11, ‘07, “Stand Up Against The Surge”

 

“The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.”

-Molly Ivins

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”

"The Fun's in the Fight" column for Mother Jones, 1993

 

“But I reckon the man who taught most of us how to have fun while fightin' for freedom was John Henry Faulk, who went and died on us a few years back. Despite gettin' blacklisted during the McCarthy Era and having a number of other misadventures during his life, Johnny never lost his sense of mischief, and, to the end of his days, he could be counted on to hatch some elaborate practical joke to bedevil whichever do-badder had most recently and most egregiously harmed the cause of liberty and justice for all.”

"The Fun's in the Fight" column for Mother Jones, 1993

 

"I don't have any children," Molly wrote, "so I've decided to claim all the future freedom-fighters and hell-raisers as my kin. I figure freedom and justice beat having your name in marble any day. Besides, if there is another life after this one, think how much we'll get to laugh watching it all.... We may not be able to take it with us, but we can still fight for freedom after we're gone."

The Nation, "Remembering Molly Ivins" 2/19, 2007