Live the Questions

Words of Torah, funny anecdotes about my students, rants about education policy, and observations on politics, progressive Judaism, activism, and culture will all make appearances on this blog. Each post will end with a question for the reader; please respond if you feel moved.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards z'l

Hope there are motorcycles and nasty Republicans to berate in heaven! (No, actually, I'm pretty sure that nasty people of any political persuasion aren't supposed to end up in heaven.) While Ann Richards was not the first woman elected governor of Texas (Ma Furguson, 1924) she was the second, the most progressive, and certainly the most feisty. Outspoken and brave, she sponsored some controversial but ultimately successful programs, like the "Robin Hood" plan to make public school funding more equitable, and a substance abuse treatment plan in Texas prisons; she appointed record numbers of women and minorities to her administration. Before being governor, she was a junior high school teacher (which probably prepared her for dealing with badly-behaved members of the Texas legislature), raised four children, and won a battle with alcoholism. Apropos for a Texas woman, she was always perfectly coiffed. She was politically active up until last spring (when she was diagnosed with cancer) stumping for Dean and later Kerry during the last presidential election. Ann also had some of the best lines EVER, including the famous, "Ginger Rodgers had to do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in heels!" and, of George H. W. Bush, "He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Because she was governor of my home state when I was just becoming aware of politics, she's always the first image that comes to mind when someone says "governor of Texas." Thank God, because if Rick Perry came to mind, I'd probably go crazy. Ann, we'll miss you.
Great photo