Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

Harry Potter and the Axis of Evil

It really annoys me that people dismiss the Harry Potter series as mere "children's literature" and see only its recreational value. It is, of course, an entertaining read, but it is also an astute and timely social commentary on many contemporary issues.

I would put Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire up against any more established piece of literature, but today I gained an insight that I had not thought of before, which I will express as an analogy: Voldemort is to Saddam Hussein as Bartemius Crouch, Sr. is to George W. Bush.

For those of you who have not read the book, and for those of you who just don't understand what I mean, let me explain. Voldemort is the main antagonist in the Harry Potter series. He is a madman who wants to take over the world. He and his followers delight in killing and torturing people, as well as coercing people to join in the killing and torture of others against their will. Voldemort views non-magical people, (for our intents and purposes let us consider them a different ethnic group), to be inferior to pure-blooded wizards and seeks to destroy them.

Most of the wizarding world opposes Voldemort, and those in the wizarding government are fighting against him. Bartemius Crouch is the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (though he's analogous with Bush in our example, the position he holds is roughly parallel to that of John Ashcroft, and if his name was substituted for Bush's the analogy would still bear out). He decides to fight violence with violence. He sends people (at least one innocent man) to prison without a trial. He gives his law enforcement officers authority to kill, torture, and coerce suspects. A character in the book says of him, "Crouch's principles may have been good in the beginning...[but] I would say he became as ruthless and cruel as many [of Voldemort's supporters]." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, p. 527)

What is the moral of this little fable? It is the same point I have been making again and again: we should not stoop to the level of our enemies; if something is wrong for them, it is certainly wrong for us. The question we must all ask ourselves is, if Bush is justified in attacking Iraq, what other actions would he be justified in taking? How far would we let this go? Is it possible that he could become just as cruel and ruthless as Saddam Hussein? And if so, would we shut our eyes to it, and say, "That's the price we have to pay to rid the world of an evil dictator"?

I'm willing to bet that President Bush has not read the Harry Potter books, but I wonder if Laura Bush has. I wonder if she could be made to see the precarious position her husband is in. I wonder if she could gently explain to him, in small words so that he would be sure to understand, that he is in danger of becoming the very thing he wants to destroy.

I also wonder if she's ever read Lysistrata.
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