Understanding Cranbrook through the lens of Harry Potter

By now, everyone knows the story of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling’s tales of the young wizard and his years at Hogwarts became runaway successes, the likes of which we might not see ever again. A generation of kids have grown up knowing about muggles and horcruxes and he-who-must-not-be-named. Writing these tales certainly changed Ms. Rowling’s life, but it can fairly be said that it changed many of our lives, as well.

The story of Mitt Romney and what happened at Cranbrook back in 1965 has parallels to the story that Rowling told. I’ve never seen Cranbrook School myself, but it conjures up (no pun intended) the same kind of images that Hogwarts School does in the Potter books: otherworldly architecture, a romanticized setting, something unlike the schools that most of us attended. We might have gone to a school like Central High School or George Washington Elementary, but nobody much wants to read about that, do they?

The players in the 1965 assault on John Lauber also come right out of Rowling’s books:

  • Neville Longbottom is Lauber himself, humiliated for nothing worse than being different;
  • Crabbe and Goyle, the contemptible sidekicks who gladly partake in Neville’s humiliation, are the ones who spoke to the reporter about their regrets all these years later;
  • Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and all of the other fringe characters are the majority of students at Cranbrook, such as Philip Maxwell, who don’t like the bullying, but know that they cannot put a stop to it; and
  • Draco Malfoy is Mitt Romney, who knows that he will be protected by the wealth and standing of his parents, no matter what he does.

Nobody who reads Rowling’s books, or watches the movie adaptations of them, identifies with Malfoy, since he is the little jerk who assumes–correctly–that he can do as he wants to, and nobody can put a stop to it. We identify with Harry and his friends, or possibly even with Neville, knowing all too well what being on the receiving end of physical and mental abuse can feel like. We can’t very well identify with Crabbe and Goyle, because they’re Malfoy’s enablers.

We all hate Malfoy because we should, so long as we live in a decent society. And Mitt Romney perfectly fits the bill as Draco Malfoy, in the events of 1965 at Cranbrook School. If Romney can’t acknowledge his Malfoyish ways back then, and throw himself at the mercy of Neville Longbottom (who, regrettably, isn’t with us to tell his side of the story) and everyone else for having behaved the way that he did, then how could we choose such a man to run the country that we all love? I can’t imagine how we would ever do that.

2 thoughts on “Understanding Cranbrook through the lens of Harry Potter

  1. I love this story! I graduated from Cranbrook a few years back and noticed the rampant homophobia. I couldn’t help but notice that similarities of Cranbrook and Hogwarts in both the architecture and the attitude of bother the students and the faculty. Fantastic!

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