By Judd Rosenblatt
February 25, 2004
I’m a ninth grader at Edgemont High School in Scarsdale,
New York. As
such, I live in a town, and region, of the country that is largely populated
In fact, in my social milieu, it has become a custom to be liberal. This
alienates me because I am not a liberal. I have chosen to cleave to my own
conservative principles. In my community, being conservative is viewed as a
character flaw. But even when I feel discouraged, I try to stand up for my
The vast majority of my student peers at Edgemont are liberal. They assume
everyone is liberal and were surprised when I first disagreed with them. Not
people dislike my being conservative, they also blame me for the faults they
in the world and in the Bush administration.
My peers often approach me and ask, “What do you have to say about Bush
doing…(something of which they disapprove)…? You put him in office.” Many
people repeatedly pick verbal fights with me but shun productive discussions.
asked difficult questions, they simply utter something about the “idiotic
When someone says, “That’s stupid,” the next words spoken are often, “Not
as stupid as George Bush.” They label a ninth-grader as the cause of the world
problems and make President Bush, a man I respect, the butt of their jokes.
makes me feel alienated from them and sad that they hold these ludicrous
Though the teachers of Edgemont are older and presumably wiser than the
student body, they are no less liberal. Sadly, the faculty is worse. One of
upon overhearing me talking to a classmate about the media’s liberal bias,
me for 10 minutes on the error of my conservative ways.
Another teacher suggested that to gain perspective, his students should not
only read mainstream media, but ultra-left publications such as The Nation
as well. He did not suggest reading the right-of-center press. Why not? He
after class that he believed mainstream media to be conservative.
A former teacher of mine often spoke out against Bush and in support of
environmentalism, providing a liberally biased classroom atmosphere. However,
teachers are not wholly responsible for teaching with liberal biases because
school curriculum also emphasizes liberal values.
Take environmentalism. In sixth grade, we completed two detailed units
about whales and watched the entire video series, The Voyage of the Mimi,
believe had segments that were no more than environmentalist propaganda. A
amount of the material I have learned at school has been influenced by both
teachers and curricula. Therefore, I must be a knowledgeable (not just a ”
conservative to be able to present a different point of view to my
I am a Jew and one of the few conservatives in my religious community. The
conventional wisdom at my Scarsdale synagogue, Westchester Reform Temple, is
that Reform Jews should be politically liberal and that conservatives are —
say it? — evil. Although I disagree, my temple remains liberal. The rabbis’
are sprinkled with remarks that deride President Bush, conservatives, and
One rabbi at my temple implied in a sermon that Republicans and businessmen
only about profits and not about people.
Several years ago I had an excellent and exciting Hebrew School teacher who
surprised me when she said that good Jews are liberal and should vote for
often argue with the opinions that my teachers state as facts and defend my
opinion. Recently, my teacher, who had graduated from Yale, told us that he
proud that someone as stupid as George Bush had gone to his college. I raised
hand and stated facts that tended to indicate that Bush is smart.
Such actions have exposed my political leanings and have clearly lowered my
social status at Hebrew School. The people at Hebrew School now view me as a
lower form of life, thinking that I want to starve the poor, destroy the
reenact segregation, and kill the whales. I do not; I share many goals with
liberals, but I have different, conservative approaches to attaining them.
I have a dream that one day my teachers and peers will realize that all
prejudice must be eliminated, not only against certain skin colors, but also
held against those with certain political beliefs.
Judd Rosenblatt is a ninth-grader at Edgemont High School in Scarsdale,
New York. A version of this essay was written for an English class to fulfill
requirement to write a paper explaining a custom that detracted from his
This column originally appeared on FrontPageMag.com.