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Moore Looks at the Rise of Trump: Fahrenheit 11/9

Updated on October 9, 2018
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Synopsis

It's obvious that deep political divisions exist in America. Neither Republicans nor Democrats budge much on the beliefs they hold. Both sides seem to have problems listening to the people they promised to serve. These factors are likely among the ones that put Donald Trump in the White House. In spite of losing the popular vote by three million, Trump won the states he needed to win to make him the 45th President. These are just some of the factors presented by Michael Moore in his documentary Fahrenheit 11/9. He shows signs of optimism as Trump seems like he's going to talk and act his way out of a victory, but as the election night results became official, Trump was the one who had the victory. Excited anticipation turned to disappointment for Hillary Clinton and her supporters watched the results into the early morning.

Moore then looks into the reasons why this happened. Neither side is spared in his analysis. The Republicans had delegates that get just one vote per person. The Democrats. on the other hand, had super delegates who had multiple votes that voted their own way, whether Hillary Clinton won a state primary, or Bernie Sanders carried the state. Moore shows that the super delegates often went for Clinton, even in states where she lost the primary. While Republicans have attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act instead of fine tuning it, Moore turns to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, to show where Democrats and Republicans failed to properly address the presence of lead in the Flint water, which happened after Governor Rick Snyder signed off on switching the Flint water source away from Lake Huron. While Snyder eventually declared a state of emergency due to lead levels in the Flint River, President Obama came there and declared the water safe for drinking while barely taking a sip of it. Moore believes that the Flint water crisis is just one of the factors that led to just over half of eligible American voters going to the polls in 2016.

Evaluation

Fahrenheit 11/9 is a sadder, more cynical companion piece to Moore's 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which covered the first term of George W. Bush. The title Fahrenheit 11/9 refers to the date when the presidential election became official. The latter film has a decidedly downbeat, yet compelling, tone as he shows the repeated failures of politicians who are supposed to be watching out for the best interests of everybody. He even declares Trump might be the last American president, and compares Trump to Hitler with his style at rallies and other places. While much of the Trump presidency he presents is common knowledge, Moore shows the divisions of both major parties, as well as the growing divide between rich and poor. Near the end of the film, he shows a montage of angry ranting to show just how divided the nation has at times become. Moore takes aim at everybody, including himself for not confronting Trump in a TV show where they both appeared. While Moore has many targets, he tries to pack too much into two hours.

In spite of all of the negatives he presents, Moore shows that activism could - and sometimes does - give a voice to the concerns that citizens have. He shows how teachers went on strike in three states for a fairer shake for themselves and their students. These teachers often mobilized with the help of social media, and got the attention of the governors of their states. He also takes a look at the students at Florida's Douglas High School as they made their case for gun control, and stood up for themselves as even some media outlets attacked them for unrelated reasons. He also looks at two grass roots campaigns of congressional candidates looking to take their voices and their views to another level. Moore makes the point that voting might not make a difference, but voicing an opinion is better than simply letting other voices have their way.

Conclusion

In the 1980s, the late mob boss John Gotti received the nickname Teflon Don for his penchant of avoiding serious trouble with the law. That luck, however, would not last. At this juncture of his life, Donald Trump has shown he's a Teflon Don of a different sort. Even though his life has included divorces, bankruptcies, and failed business ventures, Trump has steadfastly and consistently dismissed the critics of himself and his administration, sometimes mocking them as he speaks. Fahrenheit 11/9 shows a man who capitalized on the political divisions in America, making grand promises to "Make America great again." I don't know how a privileged billionaire fails to see the United States as a great country, but I realize the alternatives are no more ideal than the problems the country he leads faces. Every country has its flaws, and will be a work in progress until they cease to be. Emma Gonzalez famously proclaimed "I call BS" as she called out politicians who have repeatedly failed to enact any sort of gun control.

Many wonder if elected officials will ever listen.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Fahrenheit 11/9 three stars. "How...did this happen?" - Michael Moore.

Fahrenheit 11/9 trailer

© 2018 Pat Mills

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