Meet a Progressive: The Con OH Show's Connor OHanlon
Connor OHanlon is the Chairman of the Doylestown Democrats and the host of the Con OH Show. By trade, Connor is an auditor for a public accounting firm that focuses primarily on companies that file with the SEC. He believes in the foundational documents of this country and that as a nation, we should rise up to the occasion and take action in order to better our country, and the world, for generations to come. Connor plans to continue his organizing and activism and to hopefully inspire a new generation of leadership to rise up and take the power back from the oligarchs and the far right and begin a renewal of the New Deal style politics of FDR and Henry Wallace but this time, in a manner that is intersectional and equitable. Connor leads the Doylestown Democrats, releases a new episode of his show each week, and is nearing completion on an upcoming book targeted at pushing young progressives to take action in their communities.
What inspired you to start working for progressive social change?
Throughout my college experience I began craving more knowledge about politics and specifically was inspired by the 2015/2016 campaigning of Bernie Sanders. As an 18-year-old, the 2016 election was a crazy first entry into political engagement, but it helped form the foundations of my ideology that have stemmed from my life principles that have been instilled in me as a child. I always had a love for history, but I began to ask my professors about the lesser-known parts of it and the heroes we never learned about in our textbooks. I remember the first book I read for “fun” was The Federalist which obviously isn’t an easy read to comprehend. My love to learn continued to grow and still does today, especially by reading challenging books and historical texts to understand the logic of the past and this led me into actual engagement in the political realm by wanting to meet others that wanted to make change happen. I was heavily inspired by the online progressive media space, but in particular, the formation of the Justice Democrats inspired me to get involved in local activism and political organizing. I also met our Lt. Governor (at the time running for Senate) John Fetterman at a Bernie Sanders rally and the totality of that day lit a fire in me to run for office.
What do you identify as the top issues progressives must confront nationally and globally?
Whether it is on my podcast or when you see me knocking doors, the 3 issues I constantly talk about are healthcare as a human right, the passage of the Green New Deal, and the cancellation of student loan debt. Each of these addresses one of the greatest threats to the American working class and that is wealth inequality. Simply put, Medicare-for-All (or an NHS), the Green New Deal (including investitures in infrastructure, a jobs guarantee, and a focus on creating green manufacturing jobs in the country), as well as the full cancellation of student loan debt will revitalize the American economy, and give the Millennials (and generation Z) a fighting chance to create a new 21st Century American Dream.
What types of organizing and projects are you working on right now?
The main organizing vehicle that I operate within is the local Democratic Party. I am the Chairman of the Doylestown Democrats which has laid the responsibility on me (and my committee) to elect strong Democrats. My job there has been difficult at times through a global pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, and of course infighting within the party as some of us continue to push left. I am also the host of a progressive podcast/YouTube program called “The Con OH Show” that produces content each week that is educational and hopefully drives folks to get involved in their local committee, the DSA, or another group to push the country towards a more equitable future.
How can folks get engaged and involved?
The hardest part of doing anything is starting. In 2018, I was a 22-year-old college graduate with no clue where to channel my energy until I decided to seek out my local Democratic committee. At that meeting I stood up, introduced myself and said, “I am here because I want to run for office,” and the rest is history. I then went on to run for Township Supervisor (which also led me to the DSA) and by 2020 I had risen to the Chairman position within the Democratic Party in Doylestown. Basically, what I am saying is, there is nothing special about me. Any person reading this can make change happen, but it starts at the grassroots level. Find your local committee, find your local DSA chapter, find your local Indivisible group and just GO. If you don’t have access to wonderful people like this, look for online forums that may not have meetings, like what we have in Rise Up Doylestown, which is a network of activists. And if none of that exists, reach out to people like myself that may be able to help you through media like my show, or the excellent newsletter you are reading right now. I would not be where I am today if I did not step foot in that meeting, but the first action takes the most guts – so just go out and do it!
Which journalists, writers, podcasts, and publications do you turn to for information and inspiration?
When it comes to written content I of course read my lovely friend Cyril’s writings, but beyond that, I consume a lot of online/leftist media. My favorites include the Majority Report with Sam Seder and The David Pakman Show. I also listen to a lot of debates online which help me flesh out my ideology as I listen to people like Destiny & Vaush who engage with the far right. I am a very slow reader, but I enjoy reading books more than reading online publications so a few authors I really enjoy are Naomi Klein, Carol Anderson, Christian Parenti, and I cite both the The Autobiography of Malcolm X and The Assassination of Fred Hampton at least every couple of episodes of my show so those have to be included in any list of inspirations for my content creation and activism.
Meet Some Other Progressives
Thanks for reading! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions. And most importantly, keep organizing!