Like a Communist apparatchik who fell out of favor, Megan Pappada has seen her employment with the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) quietly erased. The ODP blog post and podcast announcing her hire as Director of Women’s Outreach has vanished as quickly as a Soviet political prisoner disappeared forever into the KGB abyss.
Megan Pappada was hired a few weeks ago by the ODP, then she was promptly fired later that same day. According to the ODP overlords, she had committed a grave political thought crime years ago when she was a college freshman: opposing racially segregated on-campus housing. You read that correctly – opposing racial segregation. And she had the audacity to infect others with such thoughts by having them published as a letter to the editor in the Ohio State University student newspaper, The Lantern – several years earlier in 2000. For that thought crime and making her thoughts public, she lost her job and was forced to renounce her past views.
The tragic tale Pappada’s purge and the ODP’s iron-gripped ideological lockdown would have otherwise gone unnoticed like so many others silently purged from the Democratic Party if it weren’t for a group of free-thinking Ohio bloggers willing to take notice and speak up against this outrage.
The story first broke when one of Pappada’s friends noted that she had been fired from the job she had just been hired for when it was discovered that she once had “positions that were problematic,” hinting that “someone discovered that first semester of her freshman year she wrote a letter to the editor of the OSU student newspaper about race relations.”
That item was quickly picked up by Matt Naugle at Right Angle Blog, who discovered Pappada’s offending letter to the editor published years prior to her one-day employment with the ODP, where she stated her opposition to racially segregated dorms:
"Another example of discrimination is the presence of all-African American floors in residence halls. To me, this is a form of segregation promoted by the university. Nowhere on my housing application did I see a box I could check for an all-Caucasian dorm. Why? Because this would be discrimination and lawsuits would be filed against the institution. If President Kirwan wants to promote ethnic diversity and unity, maybe he should consider revoking these all-African American floors in residence halls."
Naugle himself commented in response:
"Remember when Martin Luther King talked about his hope that society wouldn’t judge people by the 'color of their skin but by the content of their character?' If you agree with Dr. King, the ODP will probably fire them."
The story was promptly picked up by several other Ohio bloggers, including Columbuser and NixGuy. Criticism of the ODP’s Pappada purge centered on three concerns:
1) That someone at the ODP was checking new employees for ideological conformity;
2) That ODP promptly fired Pappada for something she wrote in her first semester as a college freshman;
3) Pappada’s thought crime was opposing racially segregated dorms at Ohio State, and that this move heralded a neo-segregationist revival amongst Ohio Democrats.
Predictably, the ODP didn’t appreciate having its ideological dirty laundry openly aired, so they enlisted their allies to help strike back. Even though she had been fired, Pappada sent out an open letter of contrition and remorse to renounce her past opposition to segregation in campus housing:
"The letter I wrote to The Lantern when I was a freshman was not respectful on many levels. It is because of the diverse Ohio State University that I have become the person I am today. I have come to appreciate not only the contributions, but the value of all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation."
Pappada explained that her earlier “naïve” views in opposition to racial segregation, in addition to race quotas, set-asides, and other such plans had given way to a more “mature” view of “diversity” instilled after years of worshipping at the altar of PC academia:
"I appreciate the measures that increase the diversity of the student body and faculty at OSU, not only because every qualified and driven student should have equal access to higher education, but because the University is enriched by the diversity of its students and faculty. My own experience and growth are a direct result of this fact. It is precisely because of my experiences at The Ohio State University and beyond that an essay written about race by Megan Pappada, senior in Political Science would have been 180 degrees divergent from Megan Pappada, freshman in Political Science."
Her letter of contrition and remorse was published by the ODP’s own Jim Crow blogger, neo-segregationist Jerid Kurtz of the über-Leftist Buckeye State Blog, who initially opposed the ODP’s move, but was quickly put back into line by the ODP. Kurtz apologized for his earlier indiscretion of challenging the party line (“I was rash in my first story when I accused the party of stonewalling on this story, and folks from the party set me straight [and I'm still sorry for that]”), and obediently published the ODP’s take on their purge, as expressed by the ODP’s Internet Minister of Truth, Todd Hoffman:
"We hope that the 25 year old Megan would like to talk to the 18 year old Megan and explain how the views expressed in her letter to the editor were unacceptable. Unfortunately, Megan’s letter was not discovered during our routine background check nor was it disclosed during interviews. When the letter was brought to our attention, it became very apparent that the views expressed were not consistent with the ideals of the Ohio Democratic Party. As an employee of ODP, any statements, past or present, in the public domain reflect upon the Party so we let her go within hours of learning of the situation." (Emphasis added.)
Hoffman’s spin was that Pappada hadn’t willingly disclosed her thought crime committed years before; and since it was in the public domain, it was time for her to go. The ODP censors had spoken. Pappada publicly offered her mea culpa. Kurtz and the other ODP blogger minions took their orders without question. Earlier this week, the ODP announced it was rehiring for the open position vacated by the purge. It is rumored that new applicants for the ODP must now be able to account for the first 1,000 hits on a Google search of their names.
But the farce had not yet fully played itself out. The Cleveland Free Times reported (and the Times can hardly be accused of having politically conservative sympathies) the following week that ODP Internet Minister of Truth Todd Hoffman had some dirty laundry of his own – two drunk-driving charges, a charge for hit/skip, and resisting arrest, all committed a year after Pappada’s supposed thought crime:
"Speaking of public domain, Mr. Hoffman, the Free Times discovered some online court documents your employers might have overlooked. In 2001, you got two OMVI's (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated), a hit/skip, and a resisting arrest charge that was pleaded down to disorderly conduct. Damn, that was one crazy summer, huh?
"But the ODP apparently is less interested in dangerous actions than it is impure thoughts. After Free Times brought the arrest to the attention of the ODP, spokesman Borntrager said that Hoffman would stay. But he wouldn't get into whether Hoffman had disclosed these little details in his interview. "What's important is that I know about it now," Borntrager said, adding, "This is different. And I think this is now becoming a witch hunt."
You have to admire the ODP’s chutzpah to decry a “witch hunt” when the independent media and bloggers take the ODP’s “past and present, in the public domain” standard and turn it around on them.
In conclusion, racial segregation is back in vogue at the Ohio Democratic Party after a generation underground. Then again, drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident have been accepted Democratic Party virtues since Chappaquiddick. Senator Robert Byrd, the current “conscience” of the Democratic Party and the former KKK Exalted Cyclops who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is surely pleased with the Ohio Democratic Party’s return to the segregationist fold.
Meanwhile, George Orwell is spinning in his grave.