Ann Richards 1933-2006

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It has just been announced that one of the greatest politicians Texas ever produced has just passed from esophageal cancer. 

I have been dreading this moment for some time.  The announcement of her cancer this spring took my breath away.  I loved me some Ann Richards y’all.  Politically, there has not been a more courageous statewide politician in Texas since Ralph Yarborough.

Governor Richards was the genuine real deal.  She put her money where her mouth was on just about everything.  Her political appointments actually looked like Texas and her policies looked out for the common man.  Her tenure of office was the highlight of the twentieth century. Her successor took Texas and the nation back to the 19th century.

One of the greatest keynote speeches in history was the one she gave at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.  My favorite portion reads like a contemporary statement of principles any Democrat could run on today.

Now we Democrats believe that America is still the country of fair play, that we can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else; and it doesn’t matter if we are black or Hispanic or disabled or a woman. We believe that America is a country where small business owners must succeed, because they are the bedrock, backbone of our economy.

We beleive that our kids deserve good daycare and public schools. We believe our kids deserve public schools where students can learn and teachers can teach. And we wanna believe that social security is a pact that can not be broken.

We wanna believe that we can live out our lives without the terrible fear that an illness is going to bankrupt us and our children. We Democrats believe that America can overcome any problem, including the dreaded disease called AIDS.

We believe that America is still a country where there is more to life than just a struggle for money.  And we believe that America must have leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger–leaders who want us to be all that we can be.”

In my eyes, she was regal, a Queen.  Her wit and wisdom will be deeply missed by the entire nation.

May her soul rest in peace.

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