Today I say goodbye to Ann Richards. Ann was one of my heroes. She was funny and sharp, a straight-shooter who held her own with anyone and everyone.
I well remember her run for governor. I was in college at the time. She ran against Clayton Williams. If memory serves, as the campaign got underway he was so far ahead in the polls that she looked crazy to even try. But, his true colors were revealed (he told journalists a horrible "rape joke," and later refused to shake Ann's hand at an event).
Her colors came out, too. She campaigned for what she called a "New Texas." A Texas no longer dominated by white men, but a Texas shared by the huge numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics who had lived in the state for generations. As governor, she seemed to include everyone, while not putting up with anyone's garbage.
She was a smoker, a recovering alcoholic, and a hunter. She fought for the underclass while building up the business community as well. Her humor and honesty brought people together across racial, economic, social, and political divides. She was a true Texas Democrat in the best sense of the phrase.
She was quite a sight to behold. She was bigger than life. She was just like Texas. I might even go so far to say--she was Texas. At least, the Texas of my memory, the Texas that I would like to believe in.