At the end of the first Harry Potter book, Harry, Hermione and Ron all receive points for the bravery, wit and strategic thinking that allowed them to win the day and keep Voldemort from the Sorcerer’s stone.
The wise headmaster also awards points to a timid, clumsy student who tried to keep the trio from sneaking out in defiance of the rules.
“‘There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.’”
In a culture where politics has taken on the tribal fervor usually reserved for college football, challenging the prevailing winds among your clan can be lonely. But calling out our friends may be as important as it has ever been.
Too many of us defend the indefensible in the name of defending our tribe. We are treating every talking point as if it is dogma.
If anyone breaks ranks, they are denounced as a traitor. This Us vs. Them thinking is a detriment to the fabric of our democracy, and it’s false. Just because Neville confronted his Gryffindor friends didn’t mean he was off to join their rival Slytherin.
Truth: Having an abortion is not something to be celebrated like a badge of honor. A life lost should be mourned, and the people who found themselves facing difficult decisions should be offered compassion.
Feeling regret for loss of life doesn’t mean you are giving up the right to push back on abortion restrictions. The mantra for pro-choice supporters used to be legal, safe and rare.
Having compassion for women who have gone through abortion doesn’t mean you can’t advocate for restrictions on abortion. There are wonderful ministries that reach out to post-abortion women that have grown out of the pro-life movement.
Truth: It doesn’t matter who is in the Oval Office, it is never acceptable for the president of the United States to ask the head of a foreign country to investigate his or her political rivals.
There remains much to investigate and debate surrounding potential impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives and the trial that would follow in the U.S. Senate. Events will unfold as they will. Cable TV news will continue to have rotations of pundits spinning for their sides.
Certainly, there are plenty of people focused more on scoring political points than on the Constitution, rule of law and the good of the country.
Admitting that President Donald Trump acted inappropriately does not commit you to advocating for impeachment or opposing his re-election. It makes you honest.
Our representatives and senators will have to decide if his actions rise to the standards set forth in the Constitution. People will vote as they will. They will weigh the pros and the cons of the candidates for themselves and make their own decisions.
It’s not that we don’t need to have these important debates. It’s not that we don’t need people who are passionate about their positions.
Too often, we have chosen to demonize, to belittle and to dismiss the facts that don’t support our views.
Truth: When these elections are over, we will still need to work together to make better communities and ultimately a better country.
We forget that at our peril.