160 Molly Ivins Quotes to Give You Courage

These Molly Ivins quotes that we’ve gathered will give you insight into her views on politics, life, and more.

Molly Ivins was an American columnist, author, and commentator.

She was a legendary print journalist with a unique personality that won millions of hearts through her wit and humor.

Through her work, she made many people laugh and be more informed.

Molly believed in the power of laughter and joy.

So, if you want to get a glimpse of her wit, humor, and intelligence, read the whole collection below.

Start here.

And don’t forget to check out these David Foster Wallace quotes and John Steinbeck quotes.

Best Molly Ivins Quotes

1. “When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”

2. “I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.”

3. “Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory.”

4. “The thing about democracy, beloved, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.”

5. “Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.”

6. “Listen to the people who are talking about how to fix what’s wrong, not the ones who just work people into a snit over the problems. Listen to the people who have ideas about how to fix things, not the ones who just blame others.”

7. “Whenever you hear a politician carry on about what a mess the schools are, be aware that you are looking at the culprit.”

8. “The only reason to have a positive mental attitude is that it makes life better. It doesn’t cure cancer.”

9. “What you need is sustained outrage, there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.”

10. “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”

11. “The first rule of holes—when you’re in one, stop digging.”

12. “Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t 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.”

13. “Many a time, freedom has been rolled back and always for the same sorry reason—fear.”

14. “I don’t so much mind that newspapers are dying—it’s watching them commit suicide that pisses me off.”

Related: Lemony Snicket Quotes

Famous Molly Ivins Quotes

15. “As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ’em anyway, you don’t belong in office.”

16. “It’s like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.”

17. “Cheer up, it could always be worse. You could be living in Texas.”

18. “I often plagiarize from myself. I like to think of this as ecological journalism. I recycle.”

19. “Bad policies, stupid policies, gutless policies have real consequences.”

20. “There are two kinds of humor. One kind that makes us chuckle about our foibles and our shared humanity.”

21. “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

22. “Most of us think of the government as them. Yet government isn’t them—it’s us.”

23. “If you ever get to the place where injustice doesn’t bother you, you’re dead.”

24. “You look at the large problems that we face—that would be overpopulation, water shortages, global warming, and AIDS. I suppose, all of that needs international cooperation to be solved.”

25. “I learned two things growing up in Texas. One—God loves you, and you’re going to burn in hell forever. Two—sex is the dirtiest and most dangerous thing you can possibly do, so save it for someone you love.”

26. “What we have here, fellow citizens, is a crassly egocentric, raving twit.”

27. “Although it is true that only about 20% of American workers are in unions, that 20% sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions.”

28. “It’s hard to convince people that you’re killing them for their own good.”

29. “Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, once asked a group of women at a university why they felt threatened by men. The women said they were afraid of being beaten, raped, or killed by men. She then asked a group of men why they felt threatened by women. They said they were afraid women would laugh at them.”

Molly Ivins Quotes About the Government and Politics

30. “It’s all very well to run around saying regulation is bad, get the government off our backs, etc. Of course, our lives are regulated. When you come to a stop sign, you stop. If you want to go fishing, you get a license. If you want to shoot ducks, you can shoot only three ducks. The alternative is dead bodies at the intersection, no fish, and no ducks. Okay?”

31. “We need to reform the political system, or we’ll lose the democracy.”

32. “All anyone needs to enjoy the state legislature is a strong stomach and a complete insensitivity to the needs of the people. As long as you don’t think about what that peculiar body should be doing and what it actually is doing to the quality of life in Texas, then it’s all marvelous fun.”

33. “We often seem to be swimming through such a miasma of sexual violence in advertising, television programming, heavy metal, rap, films, and worst of all, in the home—that even first Amendment absolutists sometimes daydream about how nice it would be to have government-as-nanny just outlaw all this effluent.”

34. “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.”

35. “There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, i.e., the armed forces including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.”

36. “In Congress, there are some who are unashamed to aspire to eloquence, even to scholarship, but the only state legislator I ever knew who would not join in the mispronunciation of a word for the sake of camaraderie with her fellows was former State Senator and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan.”

37. “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.”

38. “You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to.”

39. “Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for.”

40. “I have known George W. Bush slightly since we were both in high school, and I studied him closely as governor. He is neither mean nor stupid. What we have here is a man shaped by three intertwining strands of Texas culture, combined with huge blinkers of class. The three Texas themes are religiosity, anti-intellectualism, and machismo.”

41. “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.”

42. “All of which indicates that he’s quite a fast learner. When you approve of a politician, this is known as flexibility—when you don’t, it’s called lack of principle—but in fact, politics requires accommodation.”

43. “The stakes they play for in politics are paper and money. The chips they play with are your life.”

44. “The government can now delve into personal and private records of individuals even if they cannot be directly connected to a terrorist or foreign government. Bank records, e-mails, library records, even the track of discount cards at grocery stores can be obtained on individuals without establishing any connection to a terrorist before a judge.”

Molly Ivins Quotes on Truth and Reality

45. “There is no inverse relationship between freedom and security. Less of one does not lead to more of the other. People with no rights are not safe from terrorist attacks.”

46. “I think most of us become nicer as we get older, less judgmental, less full of certitude—life tends to knock a few corners of us as we go through.”

47. “You could probably prove, by judicious use of logarithms and congruent triangles, that real life is a lot more like soap opera than most people will admit.”

48. “The odd thing about these television discussions designed to ‘get all sides of the issue’ is that they do not feature a spectrum of people with different views on reality. Rather, they frequently give us a face-off between those who see reality and those who have missed it entirely. In the name of objectivity, we are getting fantasy-land.”

49. “If you really wanted to settle down the Middle East, if what you wanted was change in the Middle East, it is perfectly obvious that the first step is resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

50. “One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”

51. “Sit up, join up, get on line, get in touch, find out who’s raising hell and join them. No use waiting on a bunch of wussy politicians.”

52. “California is now close to spending more on prisons than it does on higher education, surely the death warrant of a civilization.”

53. “Confusing the academy with the world is a dumb and dangerous thing to do. In the real world, money talks, bullshit walks.”

54. “How the American right managed to convince itself that the programs to alleviate poverty are responsible for the consequences of poverty will someday be studied as a notorious mass illusion.”

55. “It’s a monstrous idea to put people in prison and keep them there.”

56. “I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.”

57. “There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.”

58. “There’s been a lot of experience with torture in history. It doesn’t work.”

59. “I really think the single most important thing to remember about trying to fix the schools is that there is no such thing as an instant result.”

Molly Ivins Quotes About Texas

60. “I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part and discuss it only with consenting adults.”

61. “Havin’ fun while freedom fightin’ must be one of those lunatic Texas traits we get from the water—which is known to have lithium in it, because it goes all the way back to Sam Houston, surely the most lovable, the most human, and the funniest of all the great men this country has ever produced.”

62. “In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the ‘governor’s’ office. It’s mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks, and the comatose.”

63. “Texas is a fine place for men and dogs, but hell on women and horses.”

64. “Sometimes, I think Texas exists as a reality check for those who might wander too far toward the precious.”

65. “Texas liberals are the camels of good news. We can cross entire deserts between oases.”

66. “Humanism is not alive and well in Texas. Different colors and types of Texans do not like one another, nor do they pretend to.”

67. “I think of Texas as the laboratory for bad government.”

68. “I never saw anything funnier than Texas politics.”

69. “But Texas Democrats can scarcely bring themselves to hope.”

70. “The more a body tries to explode all the foolish myths that have grown up about Texas by telling the truth, the more a body will wind up adding to the mythology.”

71. “Naturally, when it comes to voting, we in Texas are accustomed to discerning that fine hair’s-breadth worth of difference that makes one hopeless dipstick slightly less awful than the other. But it does raise the question. Why bother?”

72. “Good thing we’ve still got politics in Texas—finest form of free entertainment ever invented.”

73. “Until June 26, 1918, all Texans could vote except ‘idiots, imbeciles, aliens, the insane and women.’”

74. “Texas is not a civilized place. Texans shoot one another a lot. They also knife, razor, and stomp one another to death with some frequency. And they fight in bars all the time.”

Witty Molly Ivins Quotes

75. “Young political reporters are always told there are three ways to judge a politician. The first is to look at the record. The second is to look at the record. And third, look at the record.”

76. “I know, ‘guns don’t kill people.’ But I suspect that they have something to do with it. If you point your finger at someone and say, ‘Bang, bang, you’re dead,’ not much actually happens.”

77. “Well, if Clinton can carry Texas, ask the nervously hopeful Democrats, what about Victor Morales? Then, they all think about Phil Gramm and his millions and say, ‘Nah, forget it.'”

78. “Even I felt sorry for Richard Nixon when he left, there’s nothing you can do about being born liberal—fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed.”

79. “I’ve said it before—war brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were ‘German dogs.’ They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds.”

80. “That’s the trouble with this country, people keep messin’ up each other’s movies.”

81. “Should a girl like me, in whom the milk of human kindness flows copiously for everyone, from protein-shy hottentots to the glandular obese, actually aim a few swift boots at the prone form of Sen. Phil Gramm? Nah. But it’s tempting.”

82. “Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous.”

83. “Calling George Bush shallow is like calling a dwarf short.”

84. “Oh, hell, I can’t go on a spiritual journey—I’m constipated.”

85. “On the whole, I prefer not to be lectured on patriotism by those who keep offshore mail drops in order to avoid paying their taxes.”

86. “The Founders were right all along, but the results are a lot funnier than they intended.”

87. “Guns do kill. Unlike cars, that is all they do.”

88. “He was so narrow-minded he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.”

89. “If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.”

Molly Ivins Quotes on Her Thought and Beliefs

90. “It’s hard to argue against cynics—they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side.”

91. “Some days, I’d feel better with Punxsutawney Phil in the Oval Office, at least he doesn’t lie about the weather.”

92. “During a recent panel on the numerous failures of American journalism, I proposed that almost all stories about the government should begin, ‘Look out! They’re about to smack you around again!’”

93. “I believe in practicing prudence at least once every two or three years.”

94. “I think provincialism is an endemic characteristic with mankind, I think everybody everywhere is provincial, but it is particularly striking with Texans, and we tend to be very Texcentric.”

94. “Manners are just a formal expression of how you treat people.”

96. “We’ve had trickle down economics in the country for 10 years now, and most of us aren’t even damp yet.”

97. “The trouble with capitalism as a system is that only those who have or can get capital can make it work for them, and that leaves out damn near all of us.”

98. “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 spend a lot of time thinking about the people who build their pyramids, either.”

99. “I think one can easily make a case for taking out Saddam Hussein. In fact, one could probably be made on humanitarian grounds alone. But just as there’s a downside risk to doing nothing about this man, there is a very serious downside risk to invading the country.”

100. “Imagine wasting all that perfectly good anger on paranoid fantasies.”

101. “Jimmy Carter was unquestionably the most moral president of my lifetime, but he wasn’t much of a president.”

102. “Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.”

103. “I saw a shrink because I thought I suffered from fear of success.”

104. “Satire is a weapon, and it can be quite cruel.”

Molly Ivins Quotes About Herself

105. “On a personal note, I have contracted an outstanding case of breast cancer, from which I intend to recover. I don’t need get-well cards, but I would like the beloved women readers to do something for me. Go. Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. Done.”

106. “I’ve always found it easier to be funny than to be serious.”

107. “First time I ever set foot on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, I knew that this was reporter heaven.”

108. “I still believe in hope—mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.”

109. “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.”

110. “Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life—it gave me, me. It provided me the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life.”

111. “Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant, it tends to get worse.”

112. “All my life, I’ve been sort of a professional optimist, full of good cheer about matters political and journalistic. I always thought I’d get older and become an unnaturally cheerful old fart. But it’s not happening.”

113. “And the funny thing is, I’ve always been an optimist—it’s practically a congenital disorder with me.”

114. “I have always been a left-winger and an outsider. I loved being that. I was perfectly cheerful with that role. Then suddenly, you’re one of the talking heads on ‘Nightline,’ and you think you must have sold out.”

115. “I am one of those people who are out of touch with their emotions. I tend to treat my emotions like unpleasant relatives—a long-distance call once or twice a year is more than enough. If I get in touch with them, they might come to stay.”

116. “I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.”

117. “Am I the only person covering politics who ever noticed that Newt Gingrich is actually a nincompoop?”

118. “Mostly, Texas women are tough in some very fundamental ways. Not unfeminine, nor necessarily unladylike, just tough!”

119. “Although a life-long fashion dropout, I have absorbed enough by reading Harper’s Bazaar while waiting at the dentist’s to have grasped that the purpose of fashion is to make a statement. My own modest statement, discerned by true cognoscenti, is, ‘Woman who wears clothes so she won’t be naked.’”

Profound Molly Ivins Quotes That Will Change Your Way of Thinking

120. “The thing is this—you gotta have fun while you’re fighting’ for freedom, ’cause you don’t always win.”

121. “The impulse to make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free is an old one. When we are badly frightened, we think we can make ourselves safer by sacrificing some of our liberties.”

122. “In the first place, any group of folks willing to make asses of themselves in pursuit of a good time should be commended and encouraged. The spirit of human frolic needs all the help it can get.”

123. “Raise hell—big time. I want y’all to get out there and raise hell about damned near everything. My word, there’s a world out there that needs fixing. Get out there and get after it.”

124. “I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel—it’s vulgar.”

125. “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.”

126. “It’s just that the great state has this extra hitch in its get along that makes it just more surreal and bizarre and fabulous by the moment.”

127. “Anyone who thinks humans are not capable of so fouling their own nest that the land and the waters can no longer be productive just hasn’t been paying attention.”

128. “It is quite reasonable to subscribe both to the old saw that no good girl was ever ruined by a book and to the perception that it is not good for children to be constantly exposed to the sexual violence in our popular culture. Protecting children seems to me logically, legally, and rather easily differentiated from censorship.”

129. “’Get along, go along’ is not an inspirational philosophy, and only God knows how much moral cowardice it has covered up over the years. Serve your time, collect your chits, and cash ’em in for your home state? No, I’d say we could ask for more than that from our senators.”

130. “The trouble with blaming powerless people is that although it’s not nearly as scary as blaming the powerful, it does miss the point. Poor people do not shut down factories. Poor people didn’t decide to use ‘contract employees’ because they cost less and don’t get any benefits.”

131. “The advantage of being able to identify sin is that you can go out and do it, and enjoy it.”

132. “I know vegetarians don’t like to hear this, but God made an awful lot of land that’s good for nothing but grazing.”

133. “Conservatives are fond of pointing out that there are problems in this world that can’t be solved by throwing money at them. There are even more that can’t be solved by dropping bombs on them.”

134. “The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It’s about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times.”

Molly Ivins Quotes to Get To Know Her More

135. “Having breast cancer is massive amounts of no fun.”

136. “I intensely covered Bush when he was Governor of Texas.”

137. “The idols of one’s adolescence tend to endure—you never forget how you worshipped them.”

138. “Anyone who watched George W. and Karl Rove while the former was governor of Texas will recognize a familiar pattern. Like much of Bush’s social policy, from faith-based social services to railing against gay marriage—women’s issues are one of the bones they’ve decided they can throw to the Christian right.”

139. “One of the more urp-making habits of media mavens is presuming to speak for the American people, as in, ‘The American people won’t stand for this!’”

140. “Don’t get me started about the media double standard.”

141. “In order to understand why George W. Bush doesn’t get it, you have to take several strands of common Texas attitude, then add an impressive degree of class-based obliviousness. What you end up with is a guy who sees himself as a perfectly nice fellow and who is genuinely disconnected from the impact of his decisions on people.”

142. “Behind a smoke screen of high-profile female appointees and soothing slogans, George W. Bush is waging war on women.”

143. “In city rooms and in the bars where news people drink, you can find out what’s going on. You can’t find it in the papers.”

144. “There was really quite a remarkable level of sexism in newspapers when I started.”

145. “Even after four years in office, George W. Bush’s record on women doesn’t leap out at you. It’s composed almost entirely of little things, small enough to fly well under the media’s radar screen, so few of us have any sense of their cumulative impact.”

146. “The myth of the inevitability of economic globalization is based largely on the work of Milton Friedman, and easily the most underreported story of our time is that the current economy proves Friedman flatly wrong.”

147. “Nothing like a few restful weeks contemplating the decline of civilization to restore the humors. What I did on my summer vacation was listen to a lot of people talk about the decline of practically everything—you could call it the leisure of the theory class.”

148. “As I have pointed out time and again, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to send little kids to school than it is to let them grow up into young thugs who have to be sent to prison, not to mention the savings in the wear and tear on the nerves, property, and safety of the rest of the citizenry.”

149. “I used to go on college campuses 25 years ago and announce I was a feminist, and people thought it meant I believed in free love and was available for a quick hop in the sack. Now I go on college campuses and say I’m a feminist, and half of them think it means I’m a lesbian. How’d we get from there to here without passing ‘go?’”

More Molly Ivins Quotes You’ll Learn From

150. “Those who imagine polygamy to be handy cover for promiscuity are apparently off the mark. If polygamists share one quality, it is that, polygamy aside, they are extraordinarily strait-laced.”

151. “The charm of Ronald Reagan is not just that he kept telling us screwy things, it was that he believed them all. No wonder we trusted him, he never lied to us. His stubbornness, even defiance, in the face of facts ‘stupid things,’ he once called them in a memorable slip was nothing short of splendid. This is the man who proved that ignorance is no handicap to the presidency.”

152. “I’m sorry that the government involves filling out a lot of forms. I’m sorry myself that we’re not still on the frontier, where we could all tote guns, shoot anything that moved and spit to our hearts’ content. But we live in a diverse and crowded country, and with civilization comes regulation.”

153. “Michael Jackson was a poor, Black boy who grew up to be a rich, White woman.”

154. “If an armed nation were a polite nation, America would be paradise. We have more than 200 million guns in private ownership here. But our manners are not getting better.”

155. “So the terrorists are safe from cyber-snooping, but we’re not.”

156. “Carl Parker observes, if you took all the fools out of the Lege, it wouldn’t be a representative body anymore.”

157. “We’ve got the emphasis on the wrong syllable when it comes to crime in this country.”

158. “Populism is the simple premise that markets need to be restrained by society and by a democratic political system. We are not socialists or communists, we are proponents of regulated capitalism and, I might add, people who have read American history.”

159. “The Libertarians, of whom I’m rather fond, are running Harry Browne. Libertarians are, just as they claim, principled and consistent—they believe in individual liberty.”

160. “It’s one thing to recognize that the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing like a cancer—it’s another thing to come up with useful solutions.”

Which of These Molly Ivins Quotes Inspired You to Be Brave?

Molly Ivins was well-known for being humorous about her views on politics. She hooked her viewers and readers with her wit. It was her boldness and bravery that many people got inspired with.

Molly Ivins died in 2007 after battling breast cancer. But even after her death, her legacy remains and leaves us a lot of life lessons.

Ivins taught us about the reality of politics. She exemplified braveness in times of uncertainty and became a role model for us all.

We hope this collection gave you a glimpse of Molly Ivins’ life journey. Moreover, we hope these quotes taught you that being a woman doesn’t mean we cannot express our opinions and feelings. We just need to have enough strength and bravery to do it like her.

Which of these Molly Ivins quotes are your favorites? Which quote struck you the most? Write them in the comment section below.


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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