2009/04/22:Capital Times: Institute Will Carry On In The Spirit Of Midge Miller - The Madison Institute

Institute Will Carry On In The Spirit Of Midge Miller
The Capital Times :: THE CAP TIMES :: 32
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Progressives everywhere are mourning the passing of Midge Miller. We reminisce. We tell stories of her achievements in the Wisconsin Assembly, of her total integrity there amid the hurly-burly of political wrangling, of her travels around the country to assist her favored political candidates, of her determination to make a better society, of the strength and vitality she gave to her family.

Nowhere will her loss be felt more keenly than in The Madison Institute - this organization that she founded in 1982 when she retired from the Wisconsin Assembly in order to have more time to spend on the country's urgent problems. She wanted many voices to join her in speaking out against the pervasive influence of the conservative think tanks with their prejudiced analyses of issues and their treatises presented so conveniently for the media to publicize. Peace, civil rights, human rights, justice and equal opportunity, the economy, health care, foreign policy, the United Nations, effective government - all were her concerns. They became the concerns of TMI and the subject of forums open to the public without charge.

Through its monthly discussion groups - the Progressive Round Table - many people have come to know Midge well and have added their own voices to hers.

Those of us who have participated in TMI appreciate the special opportunity we have had to work with her on progressive causes and to be inspired by the intensity of her commitment. She bought hundreds of books, tapes, CDs, and DVDs and lent them widely. But Midge was rarely able to get through a whole book herself. By Chapter 3 she had picked up the idea, judged its significance and ramifications, and was seeking solutions and urging others to action.

In her travels she found many people involved with those same causes and made them her friends. (An acquaintance of Midge's often became a dear friend.) TMI has been fortunate to tap some of those friends - often national figures - to bring them to Madison for our forums. They came because of Midge - because Midge had told them that in Madison they would find a receptive audience.

In spite of her commitment to controversial causes, Midge seemed to have no enemies. She played the game fairly and openly, clarifying her views and defending them. But those who opposed her efforts must have feared her influence.

Midge was known widely, loved by those close to her, admired and respected by all she touched. At mention of her presence in a meeting hall, cheers and applause were spontaneous and prolonged. People who worked in their own small neighborhoods and communities received her attention along with the famous and influential.

A bright light faded Friday as Midge passed on beyond us but her spark will continue to provide light and energy to all who knew her and especially to The Madison Institute, where, her spirit always with us, we dare not flag.