In praise of Midge Decter

At Democracy Project, Bruce Kesler pays tribute to Midge Decter: “Thanskgiving for Midge Decter.” The occasion for Kesler’s tribute appears to be Midge’s Heritage Foundation lecture this past week — “The Never-Ending War” — but Kesler dates his admiration of Midge to a paragraph she published in 1968 that inspired him to leave graduate school and enlist in the Marines to contribute to “our mission in Vietnam.” Kesler deems Midge his metaphorical mother, writing:

[T]hat led to my organizing the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace in 1971, to rebut the outrageous charges made by John Kerry and his small band of fake and disaffected Vietnam veterans, trumpeted by an anti-war media, that we were a criminal country with blood-lust crazed troops. John O’Neill joined me. Thirty-three years later, we and Vietnam veterans arose from our middle-age like Minute Men to finish the internment of Kerry’s lies and deceptive presentation of himself, to avoid the national disaster of this mendacious maggot in the Oval Office. By those who know, our Vietnam veterans’ revolt is credited with the decisive margin for the 2004 election.

It was then, through a mutual friend I was graced to meet during the campaign, that I sent Midge Decter an email about her quote from 1968 and its effect on my life. She responded, overgraciously, but only as a proud mother can, that my contribution saved the country. A son was never prouder.

I’ve been a fan of the estimable Ms. Decter for a long time. She was my mother’s beloved high school classmate at Central High in St. Paul, and I grew up absorbing my mom’s admiration for Midge. I’ve read all her books, from The Liberated Woman and Other Americans in 1971 to An Old Wife’s Tale, Always Right, and Rumsfeld most recently. I join Kesler in saluting Midge, and join Midge in saluting Kesler.

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