Don’t confuse being on the right side with being trustworthy

One of my favorite things about the earlier Harry Potter books is the description of Professor Snape.

Because he’s openly and unapologetically abusive. And so the kids suspect, over and over, that he’s secretely in league with the bad guys. And he isn’t. He’s a bad person, and he hurts people. But he’s not on the side of evil, he’s not working to make Voldemort be in charge again.

And that’s so important, and so rarely depicted, especially in books for kids. It’s really good that it’s in Harry Potter (even though this was somewhat betrayed in the last book).Because people are complicated.

People on the side of good can be assholes. People with the right ideologies, and the right positions on certain life-or-death issues, can still be horrible and hurt people. Someone can get substantive and important things right, and still be an abuser.

Be careful who you trust.Don’t trust someone just because they are liberal. Or conservative. Or radical. Or the same religion as you. Or secular like you. Or because they make beautiful art depicting something important to you. Or because you know they fight against some evil things.

You have to know someone more personally than than to know whether they can be trusted.