The End of America: A Film by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern
2-Disc Directors' Edition
Expertly crafted by award-winning filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (The Trials of Darryl Hunt, The Devil Came on Horseback), The End of America is a provocative film based on he New York Times best seller by the same name. Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth) makes a chilling case that American democracy is under threat through a stunning indictment of sweeping policy changes made during the Bush years that have greatly limited individual liberties while increasing the power of government.
Investigating parallels between the current Presidential administration and the historical rise of dictators and fascism in once-free societies, Wolf details the ten steps a country takes when it slides toward fascism – ten proven tactics that enabled dictators like Hitler, Mussolini, and Pinochet to turn their once-democratic nations into totalitarian regimes ruled by fear and without due process of law. Disturbingly, these ten steps are not offered as a strict history lesson, but instead bring to mind a number of deeply unsettling similarities with post-9/11 US foreign and domestic policies—from the use of paramilitary groups and secret prisons to the targeted suspension of the rule of law and the surveillance of ordinary citizens. The pattern that emerges is a gradual but clear erosion of liberty, a willful abandonment of Constitutional law, and an unheralded and unchecked growth of Presidential power.
By drawing attention to these sobering developments, Wolf empowers the viewer to question and, indeed, to challenge the course that the country seems to be headed down. Employing an Inconvenient Truth-style, multi-camera version of Wolf’s captivating exploration of what she refers to as “closing societies,” together with interviews featuring grassroots political leaders, military generals, intelligence community top brass, and innocent victims of the so-called “War on Terror,” The End of America anchors the audience emotionally to both the historical echoes and present-day consequences of the erosion of our liberties.
The results of the 2008 election should not lead citizens to complacency—as Wolf and others note, once civil liberties are taken away, it is very hard to reclaim them, no matter what political party or leader is in control. The End of America serves as a galvanizing call for citizen awareness, participation, and vigilance to recognize and defend our legacy of freedom and justice before the US becomes a truly closed society.