What Would Ann Richards Do in the Age of Trump? Holland Taylor Has Some Thoughts
“If Ann Richards were alive today, she could come up with some rhetoric that would move the nation,” the Ann creator tells TRIBEZA
by Dorothy Guerrero
Photographs by Claire Schaper
Ann Richards was a true original – a woman who would stand out and make you sit up straight in any time or place. The 1988 Democratic National Convention was arguably the height of her influence and the moment she famously quipped, “George Bush was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
She was an improbable character – clear-eyed, hilarious, and impassioned – who refreshed a weary electorate like a cold glass of tart lemonade. That’s why in today’s climate, it’s fascinating to imagine her walking around in those sensible heels and telling it like it is. Imagine, for a moment, if she had access to Twitter.
In a recent interview with Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor, Dorothy Guerrero got to reminisce about the late governor’s rare mix of talent and pluck and her outlook on the world. Taylor wrote and originated the lead role in Ann, the one-woman show which debuted in Texas and eventually landed on Broadway.
In her room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Taylor spoke at length about the woman she has portrayed for audiences around the country. This is what Taylor said about Richards and what she might think, say and do if she were alive in America in 2019:
On Ann’s politics …
“This play is not about politics; it’s about a woman who in part of her life was a politician. She was a woman who lived well and lived responsibly, and participated in her world, and in her culture, and in her society. I think unlike me – who wants to crawl back into bed at what’s happening in America today – she was a fighter and she was positive. She would always say, ‘How can we cope with this? How can we deal with this?’”
If Ann was alive today …
“She would be thinking of legislation that would help with this time. She would be thinking of actions the government could take. She would think of statements to make in the culture to try to rouse the public to take responsible action – or rouse the government to take responsible action.”
On what Ann would have to say about Donald Trump …
“I wish I knew what she’d say. I know her pretty well, but that’s beyond anybody to really know exactly what she would say at this time. I believe, if Ann Richards were alive today, she could come up with some rhetoric that would move the nation. She had that capacity. She had that moral strength, that integrity, that foundation to speak out in a ringing way about what was happening. Eventually, in this period, somebody is gonna have to speak at such a level that the government takes action – and I hope that’s what happens.”