Open Leter from Megan Pappada
Tonight I got an email with an open letter from Megan Pappada, the young woman the party recently hired, then fired hours later when they discovered she wrote correspondence to the Ohio State Lantern about 7 years ago (when she was still a teenager) that wasn't quite in synch with Democratic values. Here's her letter:
Maybe it’s because I’m humble. Maybe it’s because I’m still a bit naïve. Or maybe it’s just because I’m human. I never thought that I would garner such attention in one day. I went to Cedar Point on Wednesday for a relaxing day (you oughta ride the Top Thrill Dragster!) and when I returned to check my phone, I found that I had messages from several people talking about my personal story on the blogosphere. It was kind of odd to see how many people were commenting on my situation.
Let me first say, I am a proud Democrat. I have been a registered Democrat since I was 18. I have worked for numerous candidates and elected officials of the Democratic Party for the past seven years. Through my position at The Ohio Democratic Party, I intended to forward the very cause that means the most to me - the participation of all citizens in the electoral process, specifically women and minorities.
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.
The foolish words of an 18-year-old girl should not overshadow the hard work of a passionate, devoted 25-year-old woman. George Bernard Shaw once said, "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton-you may as well make it dance." For the past seven years, I've danced a delicate Texas two-step with my skeleton, before it dropped its clumsy left foot on me recently. As an inexperienced college freshman, I wrote an op-ed that attempted to minimize the value of diversity on the OSU campus.However, I ultimately succeeded only in publicly demonstrating my own inexperience and shallow world view.
At 18, none of us really have much clarity on the real issues that affect people. We see the world through a different lens; often a skewed one that doesn’t represent who we will become. It is impossible to look into the future and know where we will go or what we will do. It is only through our personal life experiences that we grow, change, and evolve. Yet, that growth and evolution is often stunted because of the mistakes and missteps of our youth. Today, millions of high school and college students post pictures, blogs, and messages on MySpace and Facebook with little regard for the future. My mistake, printed seven years ago, will hopefully serve as a message to others to consider carefully the consequences of such actions.
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.
I’ve never been much of a dancer myself, and I knew eventually either the skeleton or I would make a scene. Now that I’ve started dancing, though, I do not intend to sit the next dance out. My past, although very different from my present and future, is still mine. That past will always be a part of me, but now that that past has been brought to light, I hope a new beginning lies ahead.
Megan Pappada 08.16.07
I've been thinking about Megan for the past day, hashing stuff out in my head. 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). However, as Megan's letter shows, the party fired a woman who sounds to be a very different person from the one that wrote that original controversial letter to the Lantern.
Our strength as Democrats lies in our ability to compassionately and empathetically deal with the plight of others. If we can't look past the "foolish words of an 18-year-old girl" who's clearly done quite a bit of growing up since her one-off, then we as a party have neither the wisdom nor the compassion to govern for the people of the great state of Ohio.
I said and thought some pretty ridiculous things when I was 18; I'm sure Chris Redfern and Doug Kelley did as well. Chris, Doug - seriously - please reconsider your spot on this one.
You're wrong here.