Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2020 16:50
Born in Chicago and coming from a family of Democrats, James D. Stern felt something in the air before the Trump-Clinton election. He felt there was an undercurrent that something was amidst with the politics of America. He thought that it might be possible that Hilary Clinton would not win the election. He couldn’t really put his finger on it, but decided to travel around the US before the 2016 presidential election and make this documentary. He wanted to see who “they” - the Trump - supporters were exactly. He thought perhaps that there wouldn’t be so many of them, but instead he was shocked at what he found. Stern witnessed a growing gap that is now present in our country where there is an “us” group and a “them” group. Where the idea of freedom of speech has disappeared and people don’t discuss politics openly anymore. Where did this problem come from and why it is there, not to mention how will we be able to change it in the future?
In this documentary, he reasons that Hilary Clinton is clearly the better candidate. Looking at her experience, we see that she had studied law, that she was the first lady of Arkansas, then of the United States. She became the Ssenator of New York and was U.S. Secretary of State. Her experience is profound. Instead, many of the people he interviewed thought she should get the death penalty. These insane comments were disturbing.
He also takes a look at Donald Trump, who has worked in his family business, never served in the military and never had a political office. On paper one would assume that Clinton would win. So, six months before the elections, he travelled to Arizona to talk to ranchers and border patrol officers at the Mexican border, then the Coalminers in West Virginia and expatriate Cubans in Florida, who all planned to vote for Trump. They sounded like they had good reasons, because for the first time someone was listening to them and putting their complaints onto the presidential agenda. This documentary was fascinating but scary as well.
One of the criticisms that Stern has received is that he went around and listened to the people. In the film Stern plays a very passive role and therefore gives the republicans a platform to speak. After watching the film, I also wondered why it took so long for it to be released and he said because Sony Pictures Classic wanted it to coincide with the midterm elections. I didn’t really see how this film would sway a Republican to then vote Democrat. How will we make America Great Again when we are so polarized and are unable even to talk about our differences in a rational matter anymore? Between twitters and name calling, I personally feel in discord with my country and can only hope that in the next two years a stronger candidate will show up and correct all the crazy legislation that has been made the last two years.