To many outside our state, Texas carries a macho image of cowboys, oil-field workers and dog-eat-dog right-wing politicians. But Texas has produced some great progressive political figures, and many of them were women.
Even the legendary figures cannot live forever. In 1996, Texas mourned the loss of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Ten years later, Governor Ann Richards left us. Both were giants on the political stage.
In 2007, Texas lost two more of these female political giants. These two never ran for political office, but still had an enormous effect on Texas and national politics.
The first left us early in 2007. Molly Ivins died on January 31st. Ivins was a writer and columnist who possessed a quick wit and mastery of the art of biting political satire. She was the person who dubbed George Bush as "shrub", a nickname that sticks with him to this day (she didn't believe he had the political stature of a full-grown bush). Many politicians regretted their inane actions once they were exposed by Ivin's wit.
The other giant left us on July 11th. She was the wonderful Lady Bird Johnson. While she had a keen intelligence like Molly, her leadership skills were different. She led by example, using grace, manners and kindness. She was best known for her support of civil rights, the underprivileged and our natural environment.
Texas and America are better places because of the contributions of these two ladies.