The movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a remarkable creative achievement, offering a welcome bit of positive feeling for Americans suffering the shock of the victory of Donald Trump, America’s own Dark Lord. The movie goes far beyond the achievements of the Harry Potter films, with grown up, nuanced characters.
It’s more than just feel-good entertainment, though. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prescient commentary on American politics, not in the 1920s, but in 2016. It shows a deceptive wizard leader, Gellert Grindelwald, seeking to disrupt a peaceful arrangement between magical folk and non magical people by appealing to wizards’ pride, promising to make them “great”, elevating them as a special class that is inherently superior and should have political power over everyone else.
That’s strikingly similar to the ugly politics of Donald Trump, who won the 2016 presidential election by appealing to white supremacists’ desire to rule America with an iron fist, with ethnic and cultural minorities serving the elites from an inferior position. Trump has chosen known neoNazis such as Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions for his White House.
Just as Gellert Grindelwald exploited the barely suppressed rage of a beaten-down wizard to destroy the political foundations of New York City, Donald Trump has used the rage of racist and sexist Americans who blame women and ethnic minorities for their problems. It’s a dishonest manipulation, of course. Working Americans are struggling because of the abuses of billionaires like Donald Trump, not because of women and minorities. Grindelwald and Trump both know, however, that rage doesn’t think straight. It just rages.
Those of us who are still able to think straight have the duty to act as Newt Scamander and his friends did. If Donald Trump is Gellert Grindlewald, we must act as a resistance to his rule. Though Trump may have kicked us out of Hogwarts, our wands must be at the ready.