Dealing with Politicians
October 10, 2009 Leave a comment
I am much happier with this title than I was in my previous post. In the 5th and 6th Harry Potter books J.K. Rowling introduces us to a new, more mature element to the story: politics. Thankfully our vaunted hero does not enter politics himself but his position is not conducive to avoiding it.
After the 4th installment the situation is quite tedious for our heroes. Voldemort has returned and Dumbledore has reactivated the Order of the Phoenix to fight back. Unfortunately the Ministry of Magic is far from understanding. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic through the first 5 books wholeheartedly refuses to believe Voldemort is back. He takes some rather extraordinary measures to ensure the story does not get out, including trying Harry for underage use of magic and appointing a croney and informant to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts. All does not go well for Fudge when some Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort break into the Ministry and have a running battle with Harry, some fellow students, and the Order of the Phoenix.
The 6th book is not very different from a political perspective as a new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, while recognizing the threat, appears to underestimate it, spending more time fighting to protect his position than confronting Voldemort’s dark army. He actively recruits Harry to “pop into the Ministry” from time to time to let everyone know he supports the ministry. Unfortunately for Scrimgeour, Harry is less than excited about the request to appear to support actions he cannot endorse.
We must beware of politicians more concerned with being secure in their power than acting rightly. In The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince this manifests itself in a Ministry of Magic which appears very busy and ready to act. The Ministry is extremely concerned with appearing to act when they do nothing. We must be skeptical of the words of a politicians. The worst thing you can do is to accept a politician (or anyone else) at face value. An informed viewer will weigh the actions of a politician with his (or her) words.