This color draws lines. In middle school my favorite shirt displayed a red hammer and sickle that I would wear with a matching pocket watch. Ms. Galang split our 8th grade class into groups, and told us to develop an imaginary country with its own history, culture, and political system. I suggested a hammer and sickle-shaped island with a star shaped islet off the eastern coast, also red. Is the ground red-clay?…Sure! At the time I thought I got the gist of the whole thing, at least more so than my classmates. The gist, I had recently been told, was that there could be a world “where people don’t have to work to prove they are special.” It was my first sense of knowing a secret in plain sight. Almost everything about that day (my first memory of public speaking) pricks like a parody of puritanical politics—an accidental Stalinist, the Lutherans of the left. But that idea continues to feel organically mine.To my classmates I came out swinging. I had begun to develop the family tremor and was no doubt shaking. I tried to explain how a “dictatorship of the proletariat” would be different than other dictatorships. It seemed important that every citizen was to be left-handed (like me).

Aaron Braun is a fact checker living in New York. He went to M.S. 51 on 5th avenue between 4th and 5th.