On September 23, 1779, John Paul Jones was in a bloody battle for his life. His own ship The U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard was struggling with a 44 gun Royal Navy frigate known as “Serapis”. The battle was fierce and appeared over as Jones’ vessel was battle weary, burning, and sinking. In the midst of all this and as two of Jones’ cannons burst, the British commander yelled over to Jones and asked if he was ready to surrender. Conventional wisdom probably would agree that a surrender was in order. Jones eschewed such wisdom and instead yelled back, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight”. 3 hours later the American crew boarded the Serapis and watched as the Bonhomme Richard sank into the sea.

This week has been a tough one for me and a lot of others on the blogs and across the grassroots of Ohio. It was one in which we saw politics at its worst. Most of us felt sucker punched in the gut. Never did we think the infighting would be so bad. Never did we think the actions of our own party upon one of its own would be so bad. Now we find out how really bad it was.

Paul Hackett was a fresh new voice. One we desperatedly needed. One might even think the Ohio Democratic Party – and, yes, even the national Dems – would hitch their wagon to his star and ride away into victory after victory over the faux patriots of the right. But as we know, conventional wisdom is not always what is followed in big money and big power politics. No, Democrats were not brave enough to wish for the greatest things. They were only willing to go with the safest and hope for the best. We all lost in this. How badly we might have lost is still yet to be written.

I personally went through a great many mental and emotional swings. My first reaction was in what I called the Valentine’s Day Massacre – a political mob style hit that took out a threatening rising star to the current establishment. My gut level, emotional decision was to say “Fuck ’em” and draw up anchor and head to the West Indies.

After many hours of reflection and deep personal introspection, I’ve decided against such course. I’m going to stand and fight. Sailing off into the sunset would leave the pirates where they stand, ready to wreak havoc on the next rising star. If I feel strongly about change, I must be a part of that which needs changing. So no, I will not leave the Democratic Party. I will not sit on the sidelines and bitch. Because although I feel like I’m on a sinking ship, I have not yet begun to fight!

I’d like to announce the ODP Serapis project. Some have already fired the first shot over the bow. The ODP Serapis project is a group of Democrats in Ohio who, though they feel they are on a sinking ship – have not yet begun to fight. We’ll stay active within the party, represent county party precincts, stand on executive committees, run for party offices, get in position to be the ones voting for party chairs, and ultimately hold the party accountable in numbers great enough to affect change. Oh, and yes, we’ll be blogging about it the whole time.

If you support the ideas of The ODP Serapis Project, please comment and let us know what you think and your ideas as it relates to this metaphorical naval combat.

To everyone who wished me well, said they enjoyed the blog, urged me to get back at it soon, and to my fellow bloggers, I say thank you. I continue to watch the blogs grow and mature and I’m very happy to just be a very small part of it. So I’m back and I’m keeping my powder dry. Now…man your guns!

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  • Drdemocrat

    Yeah!!

    Eric is back!!

  • Wow, great diary. I think the ODP Serapis project is a great idea that will enjoy much success. Thanks.

  • Great idea, Eric.

  • The Serapis Project.

    Would we be the democratic wing of the Democratic Party?

    good to read you again, Eric.

  • Eric

    I would view it more as a grassroots insurgency, but you call it what you like.

  • Why not just team up with Democracy for America (Ohio) since they said the same thing 2 years ago and have been doing it since?

    People associated with Dean’s campaign and his DFA organization are getting into the Party and running for offices all over the country.

    Their original plan, which I presume hasn’t changed, is basically what you said is needed: changing the Party from within.

    I’ve known some strange people in the Ohio DFA, so I’m not sure how effective they are, but I know it’s out there.

  • Eric

    Good idea. Just riffing off the Serapis thing. I’m not sure their goal would be quite as specific as what I’m talking about…which is grassroots ODP reform. But you are right to try to avoid reinventing the wheel. Thanks!

  • After I heard about Hackett getting pushed out, one of my first thoughts was that Eric would probably punch a hole in his computer. It’s good to find out that you didn’t (or, if you did, that you’ve borrowed someone else’s computer to keep blogging).

    This may be a shameless plug for the stuff I work on, but there are some states and cities where public financing (aka “clean elections” or “voter-owned elections”) allows a candidate like Hackett to just give the party elites the finger and keep running. Connecticut just recently joined Arizona and Maine–and at the municipal level there’s Albuquerque and Portland Oregon (btw).

  • Eric

    Dave,

    Thanks for stopping by. I luckily use my laptop for work, so that was not an option.

  • Good stuff. Two thumbs way up.

  • dirtgirl

    i’m in for an insurgency.

    (and welcome back)

  • Wow – and I get to be Jane? Very cool.

  • Pingback: Plunderbund » Hackett Won’t Help Brown “In My Lifetime”()

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