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.