Tuesday February 14, 2006. The day the hit was put out on one of Ohio’s most up and coming politicians – the Democrat’s brightest star. The favorite son of the machine called in his markers and called upon the family to oust the young rising star. The fix was in. The hit was on.

They got their wish and more. The visions of smoke-filled rooms and cigar chomping fat cats – once the charicature of their opposition – now defined them. The deals had been cut and the set up had been orchestrated to perfection. The field had now been cleared for one of the vetted who had paid his dues and was up next. Things must be done according to the laws of the family – the outsider had to go.

Paul Hackett was yet another victim of the terminally inept system we in Ohio call the Democrat Party. It was a day that many will remember. Establishment Dems will remember it as the day the path was cleared for their guy with the unstained liberal record. Hopeful party activists wanting to see the party change and turn Republican corruption into Democrat paydirt will remember it as The Valentine’s Day Massacre.

For me, this day will be remembered as the day I became a registered independent and issue activist and swore off the Democrat party. The party does not want my help or to help me. This was first evident to me during the fight to reform Ohio elections – dubbed Reform Ohio Now. I single handedly had to organize work in my county because a party that had been around for who knows how long was unwilling and unable to. I watched while Democrats in meeting after meeting nodded their head in eager approval of how important the reform amendments were, while never once lifting a finger to do something about it. They left me out on the streets much like Paul is today.

I listened to Dems in meetings talk about how fair and open the process of picking a state party chair had been, knowing all along how heavy handed it had been – complete with intimidation, bribes, and back room deals. The patient did not want to hear the diagnosis, much less take the medicine.

I watched in dismay as party insiders forced out the very man they once begged to run for Senate. They didn’t just force him out of a race…they forced him out out. Like me. Out of the party. Off the rolls.

So this is my stand. This is where I draw the line. I’m an independent progressive activist. I will not have anything to do with the Democrat party. I’ll vote for your candidates most likely. I’ll vote issue based and not party based any longer. But I will not lift one finger, walk one more mile, call one more person and try to get them to be an active Democrat. It would be selling them a bill of goods and I can’t do that in good conscience.

There is a reason that most of the Kerry campaigning was done by issue-oriented groups. A really, really good reason.

So so long ODP, and best of luck.

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