Political poster wars at Hayfield

Political+poster+wars+at+Hayfield

Ava Saunders, Staff Writer

In recent weeks, the Young Democrats and Young Republicans clubs at Hayfield have sparked much attention in relation to their seemingly related posters concerning the topic of abortion rights. After the overturning of Roe v Wade in June of 2022, many have evaluated their stance on the pro-life vs pro-choice debate, including students at Hayfield looking to be involved in nationwide politics. When the “Pizza and Pro-Life” headlined posters were hung up, announcing a Young Republicans meeting at the beginning of March, the school was taken by storm. Soon after, a Young Democrats poster, with the words “We will have many choices of snacks” front and center was hung up around school. Christopher Enriquez and Caden Ritchie, leaders of the two clubs, say it was all “lighthearted fun”.

“I thought it was funny [and] I didn’t have a problem with it,” said Ritchie, in reference to the Young Democrats posters. Ritchie worked with his peers to establish the Young Republicans club last year.

Enriquez felt the same, but that the Young Democrats poster was trying to be “proactive” rather than “reactive”. This was advised by Debra Linick, a member of the Fairfax Country Democratic Committee who frequents Young Democrat meetings at Hayfield.

“The ‘many CHOICES,’ of snacks definitely poked fun at the “Pro-Life and Pizza” advertisements made by the Young Republicans. But it was all light-hearted fun,” said Enriquez.

According to Enriquez and Ritchie, being in leadership positions with these clubs have brought some unique opportunities and experiences. Enriquez said that members of Young Democrats have even landed part-time political internships and volunteer opportunities because of “networking” with local outreach directors. Ritchie highlighted Young Republican meeting turn-outs.

“We have a good number of people come to each meeting, around 20-30,” said Ritchie.

The two leaders both mentioned their relationships with their politically opposing club, Ritchie saying they’ve established a civil relationship with one another. At the start of the school year, the clubs even combined “interest meeting” posters.

“I think it helped increase turnout,” said Enriquez.

Even though the two clubs are very different in terms of political motivations, their leaders may be more similar than you’d think. Both plan to use the skills they’ve gained as leaders in their professional lives, both of them being seniors planning to go the humanities route in college. Ritchie is planning to attend William and Mary, and Enriquez is planning to attend George Washington University with a major in political science.

“There’s a lot of useful skills I’ve gotten out of [being the leader of Young Republicans], how to deal with the school bureaucracy, how to handle all the paper cuts that come with trying to get stuff approved, how to deal with people over possibly controversial subjects,” said Ritchie.