How to Survive He Who Lost the Popular Vote

J.K. Rowling Saw This Coming — 5 Potter Tips on Getting Through the Next 4 Years Without Losing Your Mind

America’s Harry Potter moment

As someone who was a middle schooler in the ’90s, I can’t help but yawn at all the Trump-Hitler comparisons flying around these days. Yes, we’ve seen this before folks. But not in Nazi Germany, 1933 — this already went down in Harry Potter, book 5.

You remember the story: after years in the shadows, xenophobic powers of darkness are on the rise, but thanks to fake news and political cowards in the Ministry of Magic no one believes it until too late. Now Voldemort is back, right-wing extremists control the government, and just when things couldn’t get any worse, Professor Dumbledore leaves Hogwarts and moves to a mansion in Kalorama.

Sound familiar?

If so, take heart — Harry Potter books 6–7 ended rather better for humanity than the years 1933–1945. And thanks to J.K. Rowling’s uncanny prophecy, we have some valuable lessons at our disposal:

1. Brace yourself. Things are about to go from bad to worse.

This is not a drill. Professor Barack No-Drama Obamadore is out of the White House, Hillary Rodham McGonagall has gone on indefinite sabbatical, and beloved groundskeeper Joe Hagrid is out shopping for new aviators to match his Medal of Freedom. Taking their place are enough corrupt billionaires, bankers, and propagandists to fill an entire white-collar crime wing of Azkaban.

It’s anyone’s guess what fresh hell is coming, but one thing is clear: things will get worse before they get better.

So what do we do?

2. Pick a side. And if you have regrets, remember: it’s never too late to do the right thing.

The lines are drawn and silence is no longer an option. Silence is acquiescence, enablement, and above all a choice. So if you’re still sitting on the fence (or sprawled on the couch trying to forget the world), it’s time to pick a side:

The Order of the Phoenix

Flawed, no doubt — but fighting on the right side of history.

The Death Eaters

They have chosen the dark arts. So be it.

On the Fence

Where will they stand when the chips are down? (And for the record, the chips are down. Way, way down.)

3. Our ‘enemies’ are not evil geniuses — they’re not even enemies

Harry fought wizards with superpowers but the forces threatening American democracy are all too human: fear, ignorance, apathy. And thankfully, He Who Lost The Popular Vote doesn’t quite have the chops of a He Who Must Not Be Named…

Instead of focusing on the orange mess driving this train wreck, we need to seek common ground with the people who voted for him. No need for wands or spells — just communication, respect, and a fundamental willingness to challenge our assumptions about why they, and we, make the choices we make.

4. Our superheroes are real

This isn’t a fantasy novel; our losses hurt. But we also have an ace up our sleeves: our superheroes are real. Whether through fearless public service, transcending politics and inspiring us to be better versions of ourselves, or simply by getting up and doing their jobs every day without compromising their integrity, they have defended for years the freedoms and ideals we see under attack today. They lead by lived example — and we need to step up.

5. We can follow their lead

Last week, over 3.3 million of our friends, family, classmates, colleagues, and neighbors took to the streets — that’s 3.3 million Harrys, Hermiones, Rons, Ginnys, and Nevilles. Dumbledore’s Army is getting organized.

We can win this fight without a civil war — but without a civil conversation every one of us will lose. We need to reach out to the other side even as we defy injustice and reject hate. So take some advice from J.K. Rowling and read the writing on the wall. It’s time to stand up to protect the people, values, and republic we all love.

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