Last night I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with my daughter and several of her friends. It was a fabulous movie, somewhat darker than the previous ones--but so is the book. I was struck once again at how chillingly the entire series of Harry Potter books parallels the Western world's awakening to an ancient evil that never completely went away to begin with, but which now is rising in an even more powerful and deadly form.
In fact, Rowling's series has become the metaphor of our times. Whether this is conscious or unconscious on Rowling's part is neither here nor there.
When Dumbledore says to Harry at the end of the movie (paraphrasing), "Dark and difficult times lay ahead. Soon we will have to decide between doing what is easy and what is right." [In the book, Dumbledore tells all the Hogwarts students: "Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because, he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."]
Yesterday, two important things happened. The first was an "oops" message from everyone's favortie mass murderer Zarqawi, as he backpedaled from claiming that the hotel suicide bombings that killed many innocent people in Jordan intended to do exactly that. This message was being translated as some of his other thugs were blowing themselves up in the middle of a crowded mosque during prayers in Iraq.
Please note that Zarqawi had made several triumphant--and unapologetic-- claims of responsibility for the Jordanian carnage before public sentiment there began to turn angrily against him. In short, his mi apologia was the result of negative public opinion. Part of the islamofascist strategy has always been to use the weapon of public opinion and let the U.S. and its allies snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For Zarqawi it is simple. He cannot possibly win militarily; hence his strategy is to cause his enemies to defeat themselves.
Meanwhile, yesterday also saw a heated debate in Congress and voting on a resolution that forced the Democrats to put their money where their mouth has been for the last year. It overwhelmingly failed. In short, it failed because the Democrats--who have been whining about Iraq and undermining all progress there since before last year's presidential election--also know the value of public opinion. They have been catering to their base for some time instead of doing what needs to be done to win this war.
The Democrats always want to go the easy way. That's why they put such stock in opinion polls. Doing what needs to be done is not always popular. The hard choices; the right choices are beyond them--unless they feel the polls are with them, then it becomes easy for them.
The American public may be confused about exactly how well things are going overall in Iraq--they have good cause to wonder with all the negative words coming from the mouths of the media and some of their elected leaders--but when push comes to shove, the public has a better sense of what is right than any of those posturing peacocks (and peahens) in the leadership positions of the Democratic party.
Last night, Congress did what was right; and finally stopped sliding toward what was easy.
But this isn't the end. There will be many such choices in the next couple of years both for Congress and for the American people. How to wage this war is up for debate. But no sane person can still be debating on whether to wage it. It is all around us--in Paris, Germany, England, Indonesia, Africa, Pakistan....not just in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The evil we are confronting in the world is not going to go quietly away. Thousands and perhaps millions (if Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and Bin Laden have their way) of innocent people will continue to stray into the path of this evil and they will suffer and die because of it.
It would be easy to pretend that this danger to life; to peace; to civilization did not exist.
Dark and difficult times lay ahead. I hope we will continue to choose what is right.