Today, the term “America First” is a mantra among supporters of President Trump whose policies reflect the need for our nation to stop being the world’s police, punching bag, and welfare check distribution center. The notion is one that is relatively modern as it’s a break from standard Republican orthodoxy of maintaining strength worldwide through support of other nations. It’s not that President Trump wants to isolate us. He just wants to make sure we’re getting a fair deal.
But the history of he term is much darker. The America First Party of the 1940s was isolationist and quite anti-Semitic. They wanted aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, a non-interventionist and Nazi-supporter, to be their nominee for president. It never happened, but Philip Roth’s novel, “The Plot Against America,” dove into an alternate reality in which Lindbergh actually did win the 1940 election.
HBO has created a mini-series based on the novel. Here is their plotline: “A working-class Jewish family in New Jersey watches the political rise of aviator-hero and xenophobic populist Charles Lindbergh, as he becomes president and turns the nation toward fascism. This six-part re-imagining of history is based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name.”
The timing of this release is completely intentional. Viewers are supposed to see parallels between the message delivered by the bigoted man running for president in 1940 and President Trump. The Lindbergh character will talk of the need to defend our homeland from foreigners, close the borders, and avoid wars. Though the book was written in 2004, the HBO version will make the ideas much more contemporary though set in a pre-WWII backdrop.
But the biggest goal of the progressives who put this mini-series together is to conflate these concepts with fascism and bigotry. It’s political, psychological warfare and it will be effective to some extent; HBO is arguably the best at delivering “entertainment” intended to sway perspectives without being ham-fisted in the process.
Most in Hollywood are chipping in to help elect whichever Democrat emerges as the nominee. The narrative will be crystal clear and since the source material predates the Trump presidency, HBO will shrug its shoulders and deny it’s a modern metaphor.