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Members of the Harry Potter Fan Community say: "Donald Trump is Not Who We Are"
One of my favorite Harry Potter quotes comes from the movies, not the books. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, after Hogwarts loses Cedric Diggory to the Death Eater movement and faces Voldemort’s return, Dumbledore address the school: “While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.”
It is difficult not to recall this moment -- not just this line, but the moment where the wizarding world shifts towards darkness and peril -- as we stare down a presidential election with Donald Trump on the ballot. This is not to say America has been idyllic before this by any stretch of the imagination: injustice towards marginalized groups has characterized every inch of our country’s history, and recent years alone show us how far we have to go.
Donald Trump’s presence and prominence, however, reflects a celebration of those violent injustices and an enthusiastic invitation for more. We have seen this before. If it is still difficult for some of us to confront it in our own history then we can at least acknowledge the fictional iterations. We have seen the wizarding world crumble under corruption and incompetence, watched that society go from celebrating Voldemort’s fall to denying his return until it was too late.
But we have also seen the wizarding world save itself. We have seen students risk everything to fight for truth and love. We have seen the Weasleys stretch what little resources they had to take in anybody who needed a home. We have seen independent press cut through the Daily Prophet’s complacency even when it was unpopular or outright dangerous. We have seen groups that were supposed to feel powerless organize themselves and topple evil. We have seen Neville show us that courage sometimes means telling our loved ones they are wrong.
And -- as is the case with America -- it was immigrants who made Hogwarts great: students like Hermione Granger and Harry Potter entered an unfamiliar (and often unwelcoming) world, learned to navigate it, and fought to make it better.
It is impossible to look back to that dark, difficult moment from the end of Goblet of Fire, and not notice the resemblance. We have to look at those parallels and wonder what would have happened if everyone had listened to Harry, Dumbledore’s Army, and the Order of the Phoenix from the beginning. There are groups across the country -- across the world -- working against Donald Trump. Will we join them and amplify their message, or let complacency and silence allow hatred easy entry to the White House?
The wizarding world Voldemort and the Death Eaters imagined was not a great one. The America Donald Trump and his followers imagine is not a great one. It is not ours. And Donald Trump is not who we are.
Why is this important?
The Harry Potter fan community is one whose lives -- not just in fandom spaces, but in the world at large -- are shaped by the themes and messages in Harry Potter and the movement surrounding it. To be a Harry Potter fan is to know that loving something means doing everything in your power to make it better -- and, yes, greater. Harry Potter fans, with their tirelessly imaginative fan art, fanfiction, and discussion, have turned this little world they hold so close into a movement carving out representation where it did not originally exist. We've seen how powerful story has be. We can make change by sharing ours.
To love these stories is to know that good triumphs, but not without hard work. We have so much work to do.
Join me in saying: Donald Trump is not who America is, and he is not who we are.