Saturday, November 7, 2015

We Are All Neville Longbottom

Trigger Warning:
Semi-serious content incoming.
 So full disclosure time: I'm probably one of the few people on this planet who has never read the Harry Potter books.  Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against the books or reading in general.  It's just that reading takes time, and in today's world ain't nobody got time for that.

What I have done is watched all of the movies.  Twice.  That has to count for something, doesn't it?  Now I know that watching the movie is never the same as reading the book.  Lots of things change between the two mediums; sometimes out of necessity, sometimes because the director wants to go in a different path.  Watching the movie is usually enough to get a general idea of the story, and a peek into the lives of the different characters in that particular universe.

One of my favorite characters in the Potterverse has been Neville Longbottom.
Pretty much everything about Neville screams "super-mega dork".  His haircut, his buck teeth, the fact that he's painfully shy.  All of this makes him an easy target of bullies throughout the first part of the film series.  Of course he makes friends with Harry and the gang, and they stick up for him when they're around.  Neville, for his part, helps them out as best he can, and he manages to overcome his limitations many times.  Throughout the series we get to see Neville grow more and more confident in his abilities.

Perhaps the most striking evidence of this change occurs during this pivotal scene in the final movie

Hogwarts has been attacked by Voldemort's forces, and Harry Potter has seemingly been killed.  The rebels are defeated and dispirited, and Voldemort has offered them an ultimatum-join him or die.  Neville steps up, and puts himself in between those he considers his friends, and an agonizing death.  Many of these people are the same jackasses that picked on him all through his youth.  It doesn't matter to Neville, and he tells Voldemort just where he can stick his ultimatum.  Again as Voldemort attacks Neville jumps in front of his fellow students, taking a blast of magic meant for them.

Conservatives have a lot in common with Neville when you think about it.  Just like Neville, we find ourselves bullied, harassed, and dismissed not because of how we look, but what we believe.  The drumbeat from politicians and the media is almost constant.  Conservatives are racist.  Conservatives are sexist.  Conservatives are homophobic.  Conservatives are bigoted in general, clinging to relics such as guns and religion.  Really us conservatives should just shut the hell up, because our opinions are making us look like total assholes.

The motivations for this treatment are varied. Many are straightforward in their hatred, and wish to crowd us out of public discourse completely.  Hell, they would happily lock us up and throw away the key, or gun us down in droves if they could.  Others are strategic, and simply can't or won't debate us on the merits of their arguments.  Then you have the folks who tell us to shut up for our own good.  They care deeply about us, you see, but the way we act and the way we talk, well...people are starting to talk, you see.  They want us to engage and be passionate, we just need to take it easy on all of that "freedom" and "liberty".  Like the mean girls of film and television, they end their patronizing with a "just sayin'" as they continue acting like our friends.

So why do we do it?  Why do conservatives put up with the slings and arrows of this outrageous torment?  Why do we, like Neville, constantly try to help our fellow countrymen however we can?  What the hell is the point, especially when we know that the same people who bullied us before will do the same thing all over again?

The answer to all these questions is very, very simple.  We aren't conservatives for fame and fortune.  We aren't conservatives because we're right (although we are that...).  We're conservatives because we know that liberty requires eternal vigilance.  The Voldemorts of the world would like nothing more than for us to step aside and fade into the background.  Conservatives know that one day, perhaps soon, we will be faced with the decision to either stand and fight or submit to tyranny.  Conservatives also know that when that day come we will proudly stand between evil and our fellows.  We will remind them that those who fought and died for our freedom did not die in vain-they died for all of us.  And we will do so with the full knowledge that many of those that we defend were the ones that bullied us.

We are all Neville Longbottom.

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