Defense against the dark autocracy
A Harry Potter guide to resisting Trump
Are you upset about the state of U.S. politics? Did you also grow up reading Harry Potter? This is what I wish I could say to every person who just said yes to both questions.
1. Take a goddamn side.
Don’t be Percy, telling yourself that everything will be okay because it’s the government and it will work itself out. (It won’t.)
Don’t be Malfoy, naively enjoying his power and wealth until he falls victim to evil himself. (No one is safe.)
Don’t be Marietta, persuaded that family loyalty and following the rules is more important than doing the right thing. (It’s not.)
If you don’t choose a side, eventually it will be chosen for you. And yes, I believe there are “sides” to this — the two-party system ensures it, so we need to deal with that reality.
2. Don’t put blind trust in authority and institutions.
See: Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry official appointed by the top dog. See: the Death Eaters’ takeover of Hogwarts as “teachers.” See: the infiltration of the highest levels of the Ministry with yes-men and women. All people who were given power and “legitimacy,” yet were complicit or instrumental in doing terrible things.
See: the Daily Prophet being pressured to stay quiet about the terrible things happening. See: the “trials” to determine whether certain members of society should be stripped of their rights.
See: incompetent fools like Fudge being pushed out of office… except that this hasn’t happened. And we shouldn’t count on it, because reality can be stranger than fiction.
Instead, focus on actions that you can take. Run for office. Make your voice heard. Support people you actually believe in. Win the House back in 2018.
3. Find your people and surround yourself with them.
Sometimes your family can’t come with you. Hermione, Ron, and Harry eventually leave behind everyone they know to go into hiding. In this case, although your life may not be in danger, your mental health might be.
You don’t have to single-handedly try to convince everyone around you who’s gone out their minds to fix their thinking. I commend you if you can, but we also need you in fighting shape. Keep yourself well.
4. Nourish yourself with knowledge, good humor, and moral support.
Fred and George form their own underground radio network to spread information, honor the fallen, help organize the resistance, and still never lose their good humor.
The Crooked Media folks (Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, etc.) are filling this gap for me. Don’t disconnect yourself from the rest of the resistance.
Follow the right people on Twitter, listen to podcasts, read the right articles, talk to the right people. Stay in it.
5. Know that you are writing your own prophecy.
The lesson that Dumbledore is most adamant about imparting to Harry is this: Harry’s not fighting just because the prophecy says so. He’s not being dragged into the fighting arena.
He’s fighting because he truly feels the desire to, because he believes it’s the right thing, because of everything that has been taken from him and so many others, because he knows he can’t rest until he does. Even if he’d never heard the prophecy, he’d be fighting.
You, sitting there right now, are in your own story. Do you feel the need to fight? What if you read a prophecy of your own life, and it said you had to fight the evil autocracy and only one of you would live — would that change how you feel? Would you be dragged into the arena, or would you walk in with your head held high?
I think that if you’re reading this, you do want to fight. It’s just that Voldemort’s not literally after your blood, and you have other shit to deal with. I get it.
So let me say this: If you’re not fighting because you think others will do the work for you, you’re underestimating your own power and also being complacent. If you’re not fighting because you think the whole thing is doomed anyway, you’re writing your own ending. If you’re not fighting because you don’t want to believe this is all happening, get your head out of the clouds.
Find the thing that you care about, and find the will to resist from inside you. And then use it to create the future you want.
The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone.