Miniseries ‘The Plot Against America’ Offers Chilling Cautionary Tale for Today’s Political Climate
Although the new HBO miniseries “The Plot Against America” is based on a book that was published in 2004 and takes place in the 1940s, it seems to have glaring parallels to today’s political climate.
Adapted from Philip Roth’s historical fiction novel, the plot starts with the election of aviation hero and celebrity Charles Lindbergh as president of the U.S. in 1940. This unorthodox administration sparks an “America First” nationalism that results in the nation not entering World War II.
The story is largely seen through the eyes of a Jewish family and their extended circle in Newark, who begin to see the growing threat posed by Lindbergh’s candidacy and the resulting receptivity towards fascism because of it. As the nation thrives economically with its closed borders, they are increasingly wary of outsiders.
Reflecting the real-life Lindbergh, who espoused xenophobic beliefs and was thought to be a Nazi sympathizer, this revisionist version of the U.S. begins to accept antisemitism. For instance, Jewish American children are invited to visit rural areas in order to further assimilate into the new nationalist American culture.
With these plot details, it’s not hard to draw parallels to the current presidential administration. Creator David Simon has been outspoken about the new series shedding light on the current administration’s “totalitarianism and intolerance”.
The six-part miniseries has received critical acclaim, with expected comments on how it echoes today’s politics, providing a cautionary tale for the worst consequences of a divisive populist figure who preys upon the patriotism of his followers.
Starring John Turturro and Winona Ryder, “The Plot Against America” is written by David Simon and Ed Burns, who were best known for their collaboration on the acclaimed HBO series “The Wire”. Minkie Spiro (“Call the Midwife”) and Thomas Schlamme (“The West Wing”) direct.
Philip Roth was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who died in 2018 at the age of 85. His other works include “The Human Stain” and “Goodbye, Columbus.”
“The Plot Against America” premieres March 16 at 9 p.m. on HBO, and will air a new episode every Monday for the following five weeks.