online edition

The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

A New Havener's Paradox

Connor Hartigan '19, Assistant Op/Ed Editor
As many of you know, I am an acolyte of Bernie Sanders.  
You’ve probably seen my T-shirts, laptop stickers, and Halloween costumes to that effect. I believe strongly in his message of economic equality, including a $15 minimum wage, strict regulation of Wall Street, and support for free public education. I attended two Bernie rallies during the last primary season, going all the way to Massachusetts for one of them. To me, his egalitarian, pro-worker, social democratic politics are the best path for America, and I was gutted when he lost the Democratic nomination.

I also love New Haven. I’m always proud to tell people that I was born here and I know the city inside and out. New Haven has a strong working-class, blue-
collar heritage, with Industrial Revolution-era factories and armories dotting the city. To some, it is a buzzword for poverty. Yet I am proud to be a New Havener, and I feel that when Bernie talks about the American working class, he is talking about my home city. His message - “Our country belongs to all of our people and not just a handful of billionaires!” - definitely resonated with me and all the people who gathered with him on the New Haven Green last year. We cheered Bernie Sanders as our savior and hero, who was fighting on behalf of the average American, including me.

However, there is a very important detail that I’ve left out thus far. Every time I proudly proclaim my New Haven-ness in front of my dad, he brings me back to reality with a simple “You, young man, grew up on St. Ronan Street.” This, of course, is a reference to one of the titular streets of New Haven’s Ronan-Edgehill 
neighborhood, located right next to East Rock, home of the Yale Divinity School, and a section of the city far wealthier than most of the rest. On top of that, we have a cottage in Niantic, where we spend most of our summers. I go to Hopkins, where tuition exceeds $42,000 per year. My personal values and political opinions tell me one thing; attending a centuries-old private school tells me another. My mom works for SARGENT, one of New Haven’s proud industrial pillars, but not on the factory floor. Rather, she’s the company’s lawyer. My life is full of these contradictions.

It’s hard to reconcile these paradoxes, and the questions nag at me. Can I support a self-proclaimed socialist given that my family is better off than the majority of Americans, especially in New Haven? Can I even call myself a New Havener with
justice? Does the good fortune of my family necessitate that I choke on every affirmation of Bernie Bro beliefs? Could my upbringing invalidate the very values I hold dear? To rotate around the St. Ronan- Hopkins axis seems like an inherent contradiction to following Bernie and believing in progressive, European-style social democracy.

So what defines me?
I’ve never been a person for neat little boxes, with values and identity all displayed perfectly tidily. Rather, I imagine each of us as a tree with innumerable roots and branches: the complexities of where we come from, the people with whom we connect, the various factors that shape us, the many different (and often contradictory) beliefs we hold. Nobody is all one thing or all the other; we are all piles of contradictions and it is there where our individuality lies. So I might be from St. Ronan Street, but I believe in Bernie and the causes for which he stands. And I love New Haven. That some New Haveners’ life stories are different than others’ does not build walls between them, but adds richness to the fabric of the city. Am I supposed to fall into a box of elitism and economic conservatism, to side with the Donald Trumps of the world, simply because of my family’s relative economic stability? That is the trap that right-wingers attempt to set with epithets such as 'limousine liberal.'

Do not let yourself be drawn into the mire of judgment and exclusion. All of you, in some way, live between two competing worlds, with constant push and pull from each one. In the end, you are the arbiter of your identity and values. Do not be afraid to hold beliefs that seem to contradict each other, since who knows where the resulting intellectual journey could take you? Do not let anyone tell you, for a second, that where or to whom you were born dictates who you must be and what you must believe. Accept any paradoxes that might come up and forge your own path. You’ve already seen the Bernie bumper sticker on the Audi. 
Back
Editor in Chief 
Theodore Tellides

Managing Editor 
Katie Broun

News
Sarah Roberts
JR Stauff
Zoe Kim
Julia Kosinski
Features
Connor Pignatello
Izzy Lopez-Kalapir
Lily Meyers
Veronica Yarovinsky

Arts
Ellie Doolittle
Katherine Takoudes
Leah Miller
Op/Ed
Connor Hartigan
Saloni Jain
Simon Bazelon

Sports
Audrey Braun
Alex Hughes
Teddy Glover
Anushree Vashist
Voices
Sara Chung
Saira Munshani
George Kosinski

Editors-at-Large
Olivia Capasso
Elena Savas
Noah Schmeisser
Ziggy Gleason
Casey Gleason
Cartoonists
Melody Parker
Arthur Masiukiwicz

Webmasters
Nina Barandiaran
Arushi Srivastava

Business Managers
Caitlyn Chow
Sophia Fitzsimonds

Faculty Advisers
Elizabeth Gleason
Jennifer Nicolelli
Sorrel Westbrook
The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
Hopkins School
986 Forest Road
New Haven, CT 06515

Phone: 203.397.1001 x271
Email: jnicolelli@hopkins.edu