As per usual, HBO’s alternate history series The Plot Against America is still taking scenes set in 1941 and turning them into a comment about 2020 politics. This week may have the most direct case yet with a jab against a “booming” economy in the United States.
The April 6 “Part 4” episode takes place a few months after the previous week’s story where anti-Semitism seems to be growing by the day. Our main character Herman Levin (Morgan Spector) will still complain about politics to anyone who will listen, including his own brother, Monty (David Krumholtz). However, this time around, Monty turns out to be on the receiving end of Herman’s complaints.
You see, Monty’s son Alvin (Anthony Boyle) enlisted at a Canadian recruitment center to fight off Nazis, since the United States hasn’t legally joined World War II. Unfortunately, this enlistment led to Alvin losing his leg in battle, forcing him to return disabled and emotionally broken. Monty blames Herman for letting it happen as well as Alvin wanting to join the army over nothing since Lindbergh’s “done no harm” as far as he can tell. Herman then turns this around saying that Monty only now accepts the “Nazi-loving president” because “the money is right.” Namely, Monty’s benefiting from the good economy, so he doesn’t care that his president is a bigot. Does that sound familiar?
Herman: I didn't let him go.
Monty: Right, he ran away to become a war hero, and where did it land him? A goddamn invalid for the rest of his life. Over what?
Herman: "Over what?" Alvin can't bear your Nazi-loving president, that's why he left. You know, not so long ago, you couldn't bear the man either. But now what? Stock market is up, profits are up, business is booming. Everything else about Lindbergh, what he stands for, is forgotten? What else matters to you, a businessman, if the money is right?
Monty: Boy, you know, you sound just like the stupid kid. "What else matters?" Do your boys matter? Hmm? Sandy? You want him to come home one day like that? How 'bout Philip? You want him to wind up in a grave in France or wherever the hell else? What are out of the war! We're staying out of the war! Lindbergh, he's done no harm to any of us as far I can see.
Herman: You know, that's the thing, Monty. You don't see much outside of your own little world.
Herman: There were Germans who voted their pocketbooks, too.
Monty: Oh, please!
Herman: You give these people an inch, you see what they take next.
Monty: Okay. All right. I'm waiting, Herman.
Of course, this parallels with all the usual complaints from the liberal media about the good economy under Donald Trump. When the mainstream media wasn’t outright ignoring the booming stock market, they’re usually considering it irrelevant when it comes to how bigoted Trump supposedly is. In fact, in this age of the coronavirus, liberal journalists now use the economy itself to claim Trump is cruel for wanting millions of Americans to return to work.
Of course, President Charles Lindbergh (Ben Cole) meets and dines with literal Nazis, so the comparisons should be moot. Nevertheless, this entire show’s core audience seems to be made up of people who believe this show is somehow relevant. And that’s including people who know that the story is based on a book from 2004. Considering that story only goes from bad to worse, we’re still in for a ride in the final two episodes.